The state legislature has proposed reinstating a cap on how much the amount of money called for by the formula for funding K-12 schools can grow.
Representative David Wood (R-Versailles) said a 5-percent cap was originally part of that formula but it was removed in anticipation of increases in gaming revenue, which never materialized.
“This simply puts it back to the way it was. It’s withstood the court battles. It’ll be a 5-percent increase every two years for the school districts,” said Wood.
Wood says without that cap, the amount will continue to be higher than the state can afford.
“We’re still $550-million behind in the formula. If we found the money we would be an additional $400-million behind. There is no way that we can keep up with this growth,” said Wood.
Democrats including Judy Morgan (Kansas City) said the proposal just lowers the bar.
“It’s like a bait-and-switch. We’ve told our school districts, ‘This is how much we think you need and this is how much we will give you to adequately educate your kids, but now, well, you don’t need that much and we’re going to lower that amount,'” said Morgan. “Basically we’re doing what legislators have done in the past. We’re just lowering the target for educating our kids and putting less money into the foundation formula.”
The proposal goes to Governor Jay Nixon (D), who has said he opposes it and said it, “flies in the face of the message that we’re trying to send our kids: that in a global economy we must continue to raise the bar, so they can be prepared for whatever the future brings.”