Summer school has been saved, at least for a year. It’s the cost of summer school that concerns state lawmakers.

State legislators held basic school funding steady, but looked for cuts in education elsewhere. Teachers participating in Career Ladder this year will get paid, but the program ends after that. State bus subsidies have been cut. Summer school survived intact.

Rep. Maynard Wallace, a Republican from Thornfield, says the shrinking state budget put summer school in the crosshairs of budget cutters.

“I’m a proponent of summer school. In the school where I was superintendent, we had summer school before the state funded it. I believe in it,” Wallace tells the Missourinet, “but I believe in having that smaller class size in First Grade and the other things we gain by using that money there; I believe in that greater.”

Wallace says it makes little sense for the state legislature not to fund the $105 million needed to pay the next step in the basic school funding formula, yet allocate $119 million for summer school. The state is projected to spend slightly more than $130 million the following year.

Wallace says extremely tight budget times have forced painful decisions.

“I spent the last two months here taking things away that I believe in, things that I have wanted all my life to have for schools and I’m happy they’re there, but in dealing with reality, we’re prioritizing,” Wallace says.

That is a difficult task, according to Wallace, but one that must be done.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1:20 MP3]