Missouri's public school leaders are hoping state lawmakers next year will fully fund the formula for the state's K-12 school system, though they know the likelihood is slim. Ron Lankford is Deputy Commissioner of Finance and Administrative Services for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. He spoke recently with St. Louis Public Radio's Marshall Griffin about the request and what full funding would mean for the state's 520 school districts:
What is the funding formula and what does it include?
St. Louis schools lost their accreditation five years ago and were soon after placed under state control, but they have improved over the past two years. In 2010 they only met 3 out of 14 performance standards, with six being the minimum require for provisional accreditation. Last year they met the minimum six, and this year they’ve met seven performance standards. State Board Member Peter Herschend (R) says, though, there’s no guarantee the vote will go St. Louis’s way.
The average ACT score for Missouri high school students is 21.6, a half a point higher than the national average of 21.1. Despite having the same average score as last year, Missouri’s ranking among the 50 states edged up slightly from 27th to 26th. The highest possible score is 36 and the lowest is one.