St. Louis Public Radio News
6:18 pm
Thu January 21, 2010

Nixon's K-12 budget not fully funded

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri's public schools will be getting more money in Governor Jay Nixon's budget for next year, but they will not be fully funded.

While K-12 funding will increase by $18 million through the state's school funding formula, it's still $87 million short of what schools need to be considered fully funded.

State Budget Director Linda Luebbering says given the difficult budget situation, any increase is good.

"A lot of other states are cutting K-12 quite dramatically...the governor is definitely not recommending that, and as I said, he took any cuts to the foundation formula off the table early," Luebbering said.

State Senator Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau) calls the move "bizarre and troubling."

"(I'm) very, very disappointed in the governor's choice of tax credits over education funding...I would submit to the governor respectfully that investment in a mind, a Missouri child's mind, is the greatest economic development that we can do...it yields the greatest return time and time again," Crowell said.

Crowell also says the decision could trigger another lawsuit over school funding.

"If we do not fully fund the foundation formula, then it is my belief that we will lose that lawsuit, and we will have black robes across the street ordering tax increases to meet our obligations to K-12," Crowell said.

In an earlier case, about half of Missouri's school districts challenged the school funding formula in court, and lost.

Education officials say the governor's budget allocation could result in teachers not getting raises, larger class sizes and fewer extracurricular activities.