A number of media outlets are reporting today (links via Combest) that Missouri is facing the possibility of a $340 million budget shortfall. Janese Heavin at the Columbia Daily Tribune worries that the forthcoming Nixon administration, which has a constitutional obligation to balance the state’s budget, might make ends meet by cutting educational funding.
There is, of course, a way to reduce the state’s educational spending while still providing at least the same level (and very possibly a higher level) of educational services for the state’s schoolchildren. A multitude of private schools all over the state offer to educate students for far less money than the state currently spends on the average student in public schools. Rather than drastically cutting the services that the public schools can provide to the students in their halls, the state could allow districts to make contracts with nearby private schools to have a certain number of students receive their education from the lower-cost provider. This kind of arrangement is already in place between several public school districts and private schools specializing in educational services for children with special needs, so this might provide an opportunity to take the sting out of the significant budget cuts that many schools face.