An education bill, gaining weight in the House, might just take on a few more pounds next week before the chamber is through with it.
House Majority Floor Leader Steven Tilley (R-Perryville) expected the bill to grow during the amendment process on the House floor. One provision added would free $30 million in state money for school districts to use as they see fit, rather than mandating it be spent on professional development. Another would regulate when high school athletes return to competition after suffering a concussion.
House leadership had anticipated returning to HB 1543 before leaving Jefferson City for the Easter break. That didn’t happen. The House, instead, concentrated on clean-up work, approving consent bills which carry little if any controversy and spark light debate with notable exceptions. The House adjourned early Thursday afternoon. It will re-convene Tuesday afternoon.
Tilley says he’s in no rush and will pick up the bill next week.
“We started the bill on Tuesday and we’re going to give it plenty of time to work through the process,” Tilley says.
The House has approved a budget that freezes money for schools at the present level. The new funding formula, approved in 2005, makes no provision for distributing money if not fully phased in. Speaker Pro Tem Bryan Pratt (R-Blue Springs) says leadership is reviewing whether the foundation formula law has to be tweaked.
“I don’t think we’re required to change the Foundation Formula, but we’re certainly looking at every one of our statutes to see where we can best spend taxpayer dollars,” Pratt says.
The new public school funding formula has a seven-year phase-in. The state is in its fourth year.