In a joint statement issued today, Rep. Sara Lampe, D-Springfield, and Rep. Rachel Bringer, D-Palmyra, criticized the House's 82-67 vote to delay full implementation of the foundation formula through which public schools receive funding:
“Missouri’s statutory formula for distributing basic state funding to local school districts is a complex mechanism, and even minor tinkering with it can have major ramifications on how much state money each of our 523 school districts receives.
“As a result, changes to the formula tend to be infrequent and occur after a long deliberative process by the General Assembly with substantial input from local school officials and education groups. Such was the case in 2005 when lawmakers enacted the current education formula after an entire legislative session of debate and consideration.
“We opposed the 2005 formula because it shortchanges public schools, especially by taking seven years to fully implement. Under the formula, what the legislature deems to be full funding wouldn’t occur until the 2012-2013 school year. In other words, children entering kindergarten in the fall of 2005 would be in seventh grade when the formula took full effect.
“Now the House of Representatives wants to take a bad formula and make it worse by delaying full implementation another four years to the 2016-2017 school year. Under this plan, children who began school in 2005 would now be juniors in high school by the time full funding is achieved. And delaying implementation is just one of several major changes proposed to the formula that hold ramifications for our schools that aren’t yet fully understood. Far being the result of a careful and deliberative process, this major formula rewrite was proposed as a floor amendment to House Bill 2245 with barely more than two weeks left in the 2010 legislative session and no input from educators.
“The House approved the bill 82-67, with just the bare minimum votes needed to pass. Most Republicans supported the bill, which still must clear the Senate, while most Democrats opposed it. With mere days left before lawmakers adjourn for the year, the Senate should block the House’s attempt to completely rewrite state education law on the fly.”