The legislature enacted a seven-year phase in for full state funding of public school financing five years ago. Whether budget constraints could put a pinch on that schedule remains to be seen.
The state budget is at the forefront of all state agencies’ focus as the legislature prepares to convene in January.
Legislative Analyst Mark Van Zandt with the Department of Education says they’re no different.
Van Zandt says Governor Nixon has said he’s committed to funding education in the state, but in tight budget years as this, “there’s always a concern.”
The state would need to allocate more than $100 million more than current expenditures to fully fund the foundation formula in the next fiscal year.
Van Zandt says if the formula doesn’t get fully funded, the Education Department will likely have to look at how to distribute the money that’s there.
“We [would] have to look at a number of scenarios as to how to address that issue,” he says. “In the past, there has been some pro-ration, how to equitabley dist. that money that has been appropriated to school districts according to the formula that is in place.”
Van Zandt says the Education Department has been working with Nixon’s office and the Office of Administration to try to ensure the funding is there. He says the Department of Education is doing their part by evaluating every program they have control over to see that the department is being effective with state money.
About 33 percent of the state’s general revenue appropriations go to K-12 education.