Families in Missouri could have to pay for ACT testing for students

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COLUMBIA - Performance assessment funding that Governor Greitens proposed is about $4 million less than what the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requested.

Without the $4 million, ACT funding could be cut. 

It costs the state just about that amount to have each high school junior take it for free.

In order to comply with the legislature, the state is required to offer mandatory testing, but it is not made to pay for ACT testing.

The issue now is being millions of dollars short in test-related funding.

Sarah Potter, the DESE communications coordinator, said that could affect the the department because, if there is no funding, the numbers of students taking the ACT would drop.

"Before we offered this service, there were only about 50,000 students taking this test. After it was paid for, that number jumped up tp 70,000," Potter said.

The ACT cost $42.50 for students to take.

If there is a written portion required, that price goes up tp $58.50.

Michelle Baumstark, the Columbia Public Schools community relations director, said that, if the funding is eliminated, she is not yet sure how it will affect students in the district.

"We believe that all of our students should have the opportunity to excel. Before this funding was in place, we did all we could as a district to help our students take this test," Baumstark said.

Potter said, if there is no funding for the test, families will be required to pay for the exams themselves.

Official decisions will be made after the budget is final.