It appears the state won’t have to go through fiscal contortions with education money coming from Washington to Jefferson City.
Missouri will receive $189 million from the federal government for its schools. Governor Nixon proposed giving the money to the local school districts now, but asking them to withhold it until the coming fiscal year.
“We had major concerns about that, because when you change the level of funding in the formula, it changes the distribution model of what actually gets to school districts,” House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan Silvey, a Republican from Kansas City, tells the Missourinet.
The Nixon Administration made the unusual proposal, because the federal government told states it couldn’t hold any of the money over into the next fiscal year. Administration officials, though, reasoned that local school districts could. Local school districts would get the federal funds, be told to hold the money over into the next fiscal year and the state would reduce its funding by that amount in next year’s budget.
A problem arose, though. Any reduction in state education funding throws off the Foundation Formula, the state’s basic formula for funding local schools.
Then came word that South Dakota dared to budget its federal education money into the next fiscal year and that the federal government didn’t object. Other states followed.
“It’s something that if not a majority, certainly very close to a majority, of the states are handling it the same way,” according to Silvey.
Silvey proposes holding the money over in HB 15, a supplemental budget bill.
No matter how it is explained, Silvey says the bottom line is that the legislature wants to keep school funding stable.
“We are doing our best to make sure that we do not reduce the amount of money flowing through the Foundation Formula from this year to next year,” Silvey tells us.
Silvey says the model Missouri now is following will keep the Foundation Formual at $3.004 billion this year and next year.