A new spending plan for K-12 education in Missouri is now law.
Gov. Jay Nixon signed the education budget last night at a Kansas City-area Boys State event.
The budget includes record funding for public schools, but remains below the levels called for in the state's education funding formula. A fix was supposed to be a priority for lawmakers in the last legislative session, but the Republican Party couldn't agree on a solution.
Missouri lawmakers have wrapped up the 2012 legislative session. They passed 115 bills this year, nearly 50 of them on the final day alone. But as St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin tells us, several high-priority issues didn’t make it to the finish line.
The bill is pitting rural and suburban senators against each other. David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) chairs the Senate Education Committee and represents part of rural west central Missouri. He sponsors the bill that would more evenly spread K-12 funding by siphoning it off from richer suburban districts, primarily those near St. Louis.
In a voice vote Wednesday, the Senate backed a measure that would allow charter schools to be set up in districts that have been declared unaccredited. It would also allow charter schools in some districts that would have been provisionally accredited for three straight years, starting with next school year.
The Missouri House has passed all 13 bills that make up the state’s $24 billion budget for FY 2013.
The process took longer than expected, because of the large number of Democrats who took issue with cutting funding to blind pensions and for not spending enough on K-12 schools. Sara Lampe (D, Springfield) urged fellow lawmakers to look for other ways to balance the budget besides cutting services.