K-12 Funding in Missouri-What’s the Solution?
I hear “Missouri’s public schools are underfunded” from educators, administrators, and concerned taxpayers on a regular basis. The Post-Dispatch recently published an op-ed by Show-Me Institute Distinguished Fellow James Shuls addressing this issue.
Shuls explained that we shouldn’t view our public school system as underfunded. Rather, we should view the system as set up poorly. He suggested reforming Missouri’s K-12 foundation formula:
We can make the formula far more rational. We can stop paying districts to educate students who no longer live within their boundaries. We can stop pegging funding targets to the wealthiest districts. We can stop holding local effort constant by using current assessments. And, if we’re going to have a system that allocates state aid fairly, we must.
The number of solutions he proposed was the most persuasive aspect of his examination of the funding “problem.”
He concluded, “It’s time to stop asking why we are underfunding our formula and start asking how we might design a better school funding system.”