Lawmakers Vote To Override Nixon’s Veto Of Education Spending Caps

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missouri lawmakers have overridden Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill to set a new bar for education funding in the state.

Senate Bill 586 changes the state’s education funding formula, which has never been fully funded. The Missouri House voted to override the veto on Thursday, and the Senate acted Wednesday.

If schools across the state were fully funded this year, the state would be pumping more than $3.8 billion into local districts.

This legislation drops that target to about $3.4 billion, which supporters say is more realistic.

When Nixon took office in 2008, public schools were under-funded by about $800 million. Now in his last year, schools are underfunded by about $400 million.

“Would we love to have the additional resources, for sure,” said Springfield R-12 Superintendent John Jungmann. “The reality is that we have seen good investments from the legislature and the governor over the last few years and if they will continue to make those good investments in K-12 then I think we can make good progress.”

Jungmann said he is not too upset by Senate Bill 586, because he believes it will give districts a better idea of what they can expect from the state each year.

“Once it becomes so out of whack and so underfunded then the reality becomes that we have to re-write the formula,” Jungmann said. “And that puts a whole lot of uncertainty into our system.”

The Springfield R-12 district got about $60 million from the formula this year.  If the current formula were fully funded this year, the Springfield district would have received about $79 million.

If Senate Bill 586 would have been law this year, the bar would be lowered and full funding for Springfield would be about $64 million.

“I heard from absolutely no school groups against this bill,” said Sen. Jay Wasson, R-Nixa.

Wasson, the sponsor of the proposal, believes his legislation will save the formula.

“It allows the formula to grow at about the same rate that the state revenues grow,” Wasson said.

“It has no direct impact on next year’s funding and it likely would not have any direct impact on the years to come just because it has been so underfunded that it’s been unrealistic to hit that number,” Jungmann said.

Nixon said he vetoed the bill because he believes it breaks a promise to Missouri schools and gives Republicans an excuse to pass new tax cuts or tax breaks.

This bill will become law in the 2017 budget year, which begins July 1.

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