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Report: MO Lawmakers Failing Kids With School Funding

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - What do you get when you subtract hundreds of dollars per student, per year from Missouri's base school funding formula?
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - What do you get when you subtract hundreds of dollars per student, per year from Missouri's base school funding formula?

 According to a new report, the answer is struggling school districts across the state.

 Amy Blouin is executive director of the Missouri Budget Project, which conducted the analysis.

 She says the end result is that Missouri's K-12 schools are underfunded to the tune of $656 million, which translates to larger classes and fewer resources statewide.

 "Whether it's teacher assistance to help the children with reading, or special classroom services," she adds, "they are all being impacted negatively."

 Missouri's foundation formula was adopted by lawmakers in 2005 and was meant to ensure that each school district could meet educational standards, regardless of its ability to generate local revenue. It was supposed to be phased in by 2013.

 Lawmakers have said that they were not able to fully fund the formula because of the impact of the recession.

 Blouin says she's optimistic the legislature is moving in the right direction, but she adds that there is a lot of ground to make up for the sake of the state's children.

 "As we recover as a state, any investments that they can make in adequately funding education and other critical services is helpful," she stresses. "We cannot afford any further reductions in revenue."

 The average statewide funding shortfall is about $700 per student, according to the report. However, the findings show the numbers are even higher in the state's rural areas.


(Mona Shand, Missouri News Service)

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