The legislative Joint Committee on Education met to have a candid talk about funding the foundation formula, teacher compensation and performance. Then, the topic of redistricting came up.
Columbia Senator Kurt Schaefer asked how long it had been since school districts were redrawn in the state. It took staff a while to find an answer, which turns out to be about 40 years ago.
Schaefer says he’s not asking for immediate action, he’s simply asking staff and lawmakers to take a good look at it, noting major population shifts in several areas in the state and the difficulty in fully funding education.
He says some children are riding the bus for an hour or more to and from school, when they could literally ride their bike to the neighboring district. And he says many districts have seen populations boom while others have declined. He thinks amid the funding concerns, it might make sense to analyze the entire model.
Missouri comprises 524 school districts.
The legislature voted against open enrollment in the state last session, a measure that would have given families more choice in where to send their kids to school.
Schaefer says he thinks distance is one of the concerns prompting that discussion.