Legislator discusses funding at school board meeting

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Education funding for next year will increase, but solutions to Missouri's school funding system are still remote, a state lawmaker told members of the Cape Girardeau School Board Monday night.

State Rep. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, spoke at the board's regular meeting about education-related issues from the past and upcoming legislative sessions.

"Since 9-11, the economy has sputtered, hindering our ability to find resources for education," Crowell said. "But this year, with the growing economy in Missouri, we were able to find those resources."

In total, Crowell said the legislature increased elementary and secondary education funding by $216 million for next year.

He also spoke about the ongoing lawsuit against the state's education funding system, known as the foundation formula, saying that the upcoming election will likely affect any future changes to the formula.

According to Crowell, some lawmakers have discussed the removal of hold-harmless school districts such as Cape Girardeau from the foundation formula, which would generate around $100 million in additional state revenue. However, for Cape Girardeau, it would mean the loss of the $910 per-pupil received from the state.

Board member Tim Arbeiter said he believes the funding system should be fully revised, instead of just tweaked with a measure like removing hold-harmless districts from the formula.

"I think there are better solutions out there," Arbeiter said. "I would rather see the legislature deal with it instead of the courts."

cclark@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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