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MO Budget Leaders Agree on Record K-12 Funding

K-12 funding goals are set to be restored by Missouri House and Senate Budget negotiators. (Pixabay)
K-12 funding goals are set to be restored by Missouri House and Senate Budget negotiators. (Pixabay)
May 9, 2018

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri's K-12 public school funding could see a record increase next fiscal year as state lawmakers inch closer to approving a final budget.

House and Senate budget leaders agreed this week that public schools would receive close to $99 million in increased funding when the final budget is approved.

Budget negotiators still need to sign on to the plan before it goes to the full legislature for a vote, but education advocates such as Brian Schmidt, executive director of Kids Win Missouri, say the increases would help meet a critical need, especially in funding for early childhood education.

"That's something that we're really excited about because next year will be the first year that Missouri will fund statewide pre-K education for at-risk students through the education funding formula," Schmidt states.

The agreement falls in line with the House's recommended level of basic public school aid, which is about $98.9 million more than the current level and about $50 million more than what Gov. Eric Greitens and the Senate proposed.

Under the state's educational foundation formula, it's now considered full funding.

House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, a Republican from Shell Knob, successfully pushed for the House position.

Schmidt says the investment in education will go a long way.

"Next year's funding, if that goes through, will be a record investment in the education of Missouri's kids, and that will pay dividends to state citizens and businesses in the near and distant future," he states.

Lawmakers will still have to iron out differences to their spending plan, but the Missouri Constitution requires the legislature to approve a balanced budget by Friday evening.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MO