Legislation that would tweak Missouri’s funding formula for public schools has stalled in the State Senate.
The bill would more evenly distribute revenues among rural, urban and suburban K-12 schools. St. Louis area senators from both political parties are opposing the bill. Republican Eric Schmitt of St. Louis County said 90 percent of the funding for public schools in his district comes from local taxpayers.
“In the bill that’s being proposed right now, this shifts 60 million dollars away from districts that haven’t gotten any new money from the foundation formula…I don’t think that’s an equitable approach to deal with this issue…I think we ought to look at the entire formula, take a look at everything: the cost of living difference between St. Louis and other parts of the state," Schmitt said.
The bill is sponsored by fellow Republican David Pearce, who represents portions of rural west central Missouri. He says the lack of revenue makes it necessary to more evenly distribute K-through-12 funding among all public schools in Missouri.
“There’s 522 school districts, and when you’re trying to come up with state policy you just can’t look at your own line item from back home…you have to see what’s good for the entire state, and that’s what this bill is all about," Pearce said.
The bill was debated for nearly two hours Wednesday morning before being laid aside.