The state senate has passed a bill that would put a five-percent growth limit within the formula used to fund Missouri’s public schools. A similar bill is moving in the state House. Some state lawmakers say capping growth of the formula used to set funding for public schools would make meeting that funding level easier.
Governor Jay Nixon opposes a cap.
“Senate bill 586, which passed in the Senate unanimously would lower the bar we are supposed to meet to fully fund our schools to the tune of $300 million a year,” said Nixon. “The legislators supporting this bill have tried to say it’s an effort to support our schools, but by any measure it’s a step backwards. I can’t support it.”
Proponents say a few schools are spending at a very fast rate. The formula is underfunded by about $500-million.
“Cutting back on the formula for K-12 education funding is a cynical attempt to shield legislators from the consequences of their own reckless tax breaks and budget gimmicks,” said Nixon.
In 2004, the Legislature passed a school funding formula with a 5% limit but removed that cap a couple years later.