Blunt Touts Education
"My new budget fully funds the first year of the new school foundation formula and provides a total increase of $167 million new education dollars," Blunt noted.
In his speech, Blunt touted the foundation formula for giving school districts more state funds.
But, Columbia Superintendent Phyliss Chase said, "Keep in mind that there's a new formula. This is new and it's less than we've ever received."
The old foundation formula determined school funding based on districts' property values and tax rates.
The new formula considers student needs and sets a financial target to pay for each child's education. It also adds extra costs for students with special needs, low-income students and students who speak English as a second language.
Chase says the foundation formula estimate of $6,100 is too low to educate one child for one year.
"Columbia Public Schools spends, on average, $7,700 per student," said Chase. "This is still less funding than we have ever received before."
But despite some educators' fears, the State Board of Education supports the new budget proposals. In a news release, State Board Chairman Peter Herschend said, "The State Board of Education is especially pleased that the governor is recommending an increase of state aid for public schools and that the increase would mean the formula will be fully funded during its first year."
Two Mile Principal Larry Jones said, "Anytime the governor is supporting education, it's an important and exciting time."
Now educators say they'll wait to see if state funds follow the promise. This is the first time the legislature has revised the foundation formula since 1997.