Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Quacking for Dollars; Our View; 'Duck Dynasty' as a School Funding Strategy? Missouri's New Reality

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Quacking for Dollars; Our View; 'Duck Dynasty' as a School Funding Strategy? Missouri's New Reality

Article excerpt

Part of Missouri's strategy for funding schools next year is to hope that enough gamblers in Missouri can be lured by marketing tied to a hot new reality TV show or a nearly 30-year-old Bill Murray movie.

We are not making this up.

In the last legislative session, Missouri lawmakers made their budget numbers work in part by giving the Missouri Lottery an extra $4 million to pump up its advertising efforts. The goal is for lottery sales to hit records in the current fiscal year and transfer just under $300 million to schools. Lottery officials are really hoping that new promotions tied to the 1984 movie "Ghostbusters" and the current reality hit "Duck Dynasty" turn the numbers in their favor.

Keep in mind, even with that money, the Legislature passed a budget for K-12 education that is $600 million below the levels state law calls for in the funding formula rewritten in 2005.

In the first three months of the current fiscal year, the lottery transfers have fallen $5 million short, the Post-Dispatch's Elizabeth Crisp reported last week.

That's bad news, particularly when contrasted with last week's meeting of the state Board of Education, in which the board voted to ask the Legislature for an additional $6.8 million in emergency funds to keep the Normandy School District solvent, as it struggles to pay tuition and transportation costs for hundreds of its students who are now attending neighboring school districts.

The transfer crisis highlights numerous problems with how schools are funded in Missouri.

First, because lawmakers have underfunded the formula, state officials have taken money from most districts, including Normandy, to try to balance out costs as called for in state law.

Second, the formula, despite its best efforts, creates an unfair playing field where students in wealthier districts receive unequal educational opportunity because their parents are able to afford higher property taxes, thus giving them advantages over other school districts.

Finally, those higher property taxes create a reality now in play in the transfer crisis where poor districts such as Normandy are now paying more to send their students to surrounding districts than they were paying to educate them at home. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.