Missouri ranks as one of the lowest states in the nation in how much state aid is given to K-12 public schools. The Missouri Senate Education and Workforce Development Committee is scheduled to hear Tuesday morning State Sen. Lauren Arthur’s proposed changes to the formula used to fund the state’s roughly 551 public and charter schools.

Arthur, D-Kansas City, wants to relax the limit on how much the foundation formula can grow and give extra state funding to districts to help low-income students with their needs. She said the tool, which was created in the early 2000s, hasn’t changed much since then.

“I think there are funding challenges in education that are creating real crises that impacts every part of our state,” said Arthur. “I am concerned that if we don’t address the crisis now, it will become permanent and the damage will be irreversible. What we’ve seen is in the last few years, our funding for education has really remained stagnant. I think this is an opportunity to allow for a little more funding to go towards public schools, especially in an environment where we see inflation eat away at the power of every dollar.”

The formula takes into consideration things like student performance, attendance, and the number of low-income students as well as learners who have English as their second language.

Some further right-leaning Conservative members have said state aid to schools goes up each year.

Missouri’s K-12 public schools are largely bankrolled by local property taxes.

“Increasingly, school districts are dependent on local funding sources. That has resulted in what I’d argue are pretty inequitable outcomes, or at least inequitable funding for districts. So, I think that there is a larger consideration or conversation to be had about should the state be doing more in terms of education funding? I would argue absolutely, so that that burden doesn’t fall only on taxpayers who are paying local property tax,” she said.

The see Senate Bill 17, click here.

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