Education Funding

Lawmakers Rewrite State Aid Formula

By Debra Viadero — October 11, 2005 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2003 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.

Missouri

Gov. Ruth Ann Minner

Republican

Senate:
11 Democrats
22 Republicans


House:
64 Democrats
97 Republicans

Enrollment:
892,000

Establishing a new, more equitable system of paying for schools was the dominant legislative issue in 2005 for the Show Me State. The new formula, approved in May, sets a minimum per-pupil funding level from all sources of $6,117.

The plan attempts to shift Missouri away from a school funding system based largely on property wealth and tax levies to one that centers more on schools’ actual costs. Lawmakers had hoped their action would stave off a legal challenge from districts across the state, which have long complained that the old system led to disparities. Districts’ average per-pupil funding levels range from $5,000 to more than $14,000. (“Missouri OKs School Aid Plan; Likely Plaintiffs Unimpressed,” May 25, 2005)

While some districts have since dropped out of the lawsuit because of the new formula, most have signaled that they will carry on the challenge.

The new aid system is not intended to take effect until next year. Legislators said it would increase state aid to K-12 schools by nearly $1 billion over seven years. For the current fiscal year, lawmakers approved a budget that allots $3.7 billion for K-12 education—about $164 million, or 4 percent, more than in the previous fiscal year.

Lawmakers waged a battle over a proposal by Gov. Matt Blunt, a Republican, to eliminate Missouri’s First Steps program, which provides a range of intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities. To keep it going, the legislature ratified a sliding-fee scale for families that use the program and transferred costs for some services to health insurers.

The House rejected a bill that would have given tax credits to individuals or businesses for donations made to a state-administered scholarship program for low-income students seeking to attend private schools or pursue other educational opportunities.

Also, over the objections of biologists, lawmakers voted to adopt a Kansas City 4th grade class’s petition to make the North American bullfrog the state amphibian. Biologists opposed the choice because the bullfrog is an invasive species. (“Scientific Backlash,” May 11, 2005)

A version of this article appeared in the October 12, 2005 edition of Education Week

Events

Curriculum Webinar Computer Science Education Movement Gathers Momentum. How Should Schools React?
Discover how schools can expand opportunities for students to study computer science education.
School & District Management Webinar Fostering Student Well-Being with Programs That Work
Protecting student well-being has never been more important. Join this webinar to learn how to ensure your programs yield the best outcomes.
Reading & Literacy Webinar 'Science of Reading': What Are the Components?
Learn how to adopt a “science of reading” approach to early literacy to effectively build students’ vocabulary and content knowledge.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Districts Steer Federal Teacher-Quality Funding Into Recruitment, Retention
Efforts to recruit teachers and create "grow your own" programs are in; class-size reduction and teacher evaluation are out.
5 min read
Blurred view of the back of students in a classroom with their hands raised answering to a female teacher
E+/Getty
Education Funding In Their Own Words This Superintendent's Tiny, Rural District Got No COVID Aid. Here's Why That Hurts
The aid formula left Long Lake, N.Y., out of the mix. The superintendent worries that could happen for other kinds of aid in the future.
3 min read
Long Lake Superintendent Noelle Short in front of Long Lake Central School in Long Lake, N.Y., on Sept. 1, 2022.
Noelle Short is the superintendent of a single-school district in upstate New York with fewer than 100 students.
Heather Ainsworth for Education Week
Education Funding Grants Aim to Support Alaska Native Students' Education, Well-Being
The U.S. Department of Education is providing more than $35 million for projects in its latest round of funding.
2 min read
The East Anchorage High and Scammon Bay students gather at a home in the Native Village to learn how to comb fur from a musk ox hide using special combs and common forks. The fur can later be spun into yarn.
Students from East Anchorage High School and Scammon Bay, Alaska, gather to learn how to comb fur from a musk ox hide through a federally funded cultural and educational program for Alaska Native students.
Erin Irwin/Education Week
Education Funding District Leaders Plea to Feds: We Need More Time to Spend COVID Aid
Without more flexibility on the 2024 spending deadline, critical programs will be axed, they warn.
5 min read
Image of money and a timer.
iStock/Getty