Friday, December 09, 2005
Mayo: Nodler education plan may involve school consolidation
Of course, you have to consider the source, but Diamond R-4 Superintendent Mark Mayo, in the latest edition of Cat News, the semi-regular column he writes for the school's website, says Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, may be preparing to suggest school consolidation as a cure for some of the state's educational finance woes. Mayo wrote:
"A couple of years ago, almost 300 of Missouri's 500+ school districts filed suit against the State of Missouri in protest of a funding system that was spending almost $14,000.00 per year per child to educate students in some Kansas City and St. Louis school districts, while spending about $5,400 per year per child to educate students in schools like Diamond, Neosho, Carthage, Sarcoxie, East Newton, Seneca, and Lamar.
"Some changes in school funding have been put in place but the new funding formula remains unfunded unless we pass a 68 cent levy on a local basis. Most of the school districts, because of this funding disparity, have remained in the lawsuit. The current rumor surrounding this issue is that Senator Nodler may be proposing legislation that would require these districts to consolidate with other districts if they continue to complain about inadequate and inequitable funding through this lawsuit. Up to this point we have taken the position that it was inherently unfair and inherently unequal for the State to put more money into the education of a child in St. Louis than the State put into the education of a child in Diamond. We appreciate the State working to change this unfair formula but our position under the new formula is that if the State legislature has established the adequacy target for educating a child at $6,117.00 per year, then it is up to the State to provide the funding rather than require local districts who are already meeting funding mandates locally to increase their taxes by 68 cents.
"In the Diamond R-IV School District the voters would have to approve an increase that would move the levy from $2.75 to $3.43 in order to meet the adequacy standard set by the legislature. We may be forced to go to our voters with a request for this tax increase, especially if the threat to consolidate is enacted, but for the present we intend to stay the course in our participation in the equity and adequacy lawsuit."