A special Senate committee is meeting outside Jefferson City to hear from citizens and discuss what education in Missouri should look like by the year 2020.

It’s called the Senate Educated Citizenry 2020 Committee, created to take a long-look at how the state educational system should look ten years from now. Chairman David Pearce, a Republican from Warrensburg, says budget shortfalls overshadow any talk of elementary, middle and high school education.

“When we were fully funding the Foundation Formula, I think the formula worked better,” Pearce says. “With us having level funding this year and not knowing the economic picture for next year, I think it does complicate things.”

When the legislature approved the new Foundation Formula, no one could envision state revenue falling so badly that the formula couldn’t be fully funded. Lawmakers have had to scramble to adjust, with mixed success, according to Pearce.

“Once you start make lots of exceptions to the Foundation Formula, then fairly soon you don’t really even have a formula,” Pearce says.

Pearce says the committee hopes to develop a roadmap for how to achieve the goals set for the state. With its meetings in Kansas City, the committee will place a special emphasis on urban education.

AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:60 MP3]