Missouri’s K-12 public schools could be in store for an overall increase of nearly $120 million in the next state budget. The increase would be by way of a funding calculation change.

The Missouri Board of Education has approved the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s budget request for fiscal year 2025, which includes the tweak in the State Adequacy Target. The target has been the same for the past five years.

Missouri Board of Education President Charlie Shields, of St. Joseph, talked about the calculation. It would increase by nearly $800 per student.

“There’s no question that we have devoted more resources to education than ever. But to the commissioner’s point, the complexity is higher than ever. The level of what we’re being asked to address is different now than it was even when this formula was created,” said Shields. “I liken it to healthcare. We now spend more – 20% of GDP on health care. Are we any healthier now than we were 20 years ago? No.”

According to Deputy Education Commissioner Kari Monsees, the increase would be phased in over two years, with Fiscal Year 2026 totaling $300 million. He said the increase would help to make up for an expected drop in state aid as a result of declines in school enrollment and attendance, which are part of the school funding calculation.

Other highlights of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s request for the 2025 state budget year include:

*$4 billion in state aid to public schools – with the funding increase of nearly $120 million as a result of the new State Adequacy Target

*$361 million for school transportation funding

*$5 million to train educators to teach reading

*$3.68 million to train educators to teach math

*$2 million for early childhood special education

*$2 million to train school administrators to help them with teacher recruitment and retention strategies

*$600,000 for language assessments to help children, birth to five years old, who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The deadline for Missouri’s state agencies to turn in their budget request is October 1. Then Gov. Mike Parson and the Missouri Legislature will have their say on the requests.

Whether some of the further right-leaning Republicans will go for some of the increases in the state education budget could entail what legislative deals are made to expand educational options for public school students.

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