A Senator at the center of re-writing the state school funding formula is pleased with the court ruling upholding its constitutionality. Sen. Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph), the Majority Floor Leader, pushed for the formula to be re-written, arguing that the old formula couldn’t be sustained and that it relied too heavily on the local tax burden and too little on what it actually costs to educate students.
Shields says the ruling is a near thorough victory, with the only issue unresolved is whether the state is meeting the constitutional requirement to spend at least 25% of its budget on education. Shields says the Attorney General’s office has argued effectively that the state spends much more than a quarter of its budget on education.
An appeal is likely. Shields hopes pressing an appeal might cause some of the 200-plus school districts to drop out of the lawsuit. He says school officials need to come to the realization that they are spending money on lawyers that could be spent in the classroom.
Shields says the new school funding formula is sound; that it is based on what the highest achieving school districts spend per student.