Columbia Public Schools Severely Underfunded

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COLUMBIA - New numbers provided by The Missouri Budget Project find the Columbia school district was underfunded by $803 per student during the 2013-2014 school year.

The Missouri school foundation funding formula is designed to ensure that all school districts throughout the state are able to spend an adequate amount on each student regardless of wealth and revenue generating capacity found in each district.

The formula compares the intended level of funding with the actual level of funding.
Payment to each school district is based on average daily attendance, the minimum amount the state has determined will be spent on each student in a district, differences in economic conditions around the state and local tax efforts.

The study says Columbia was $13,663,135 below the formula's projected number.

Superintendent Chris Belcher said the district is well aware of the issue and it is working with the state to find a solution.

"Now is the time for people to show that belief that public schools are important by finding that funding that can bring us back up to a level where we can do the job we're entrusted to do," said Belcher.

According to the project study, the vast majority of school districts throughout Missouri have been significantly hurt of Missouri's inability to fully fund the state's education funding formula.

Belcher said the school district is working with the Legislature and he is confident more funding will be allocated to schools in the 2015 budget.