A shortfall in next year’s foundation formula could result in a 2 percent decrease in expected funds for Missouri school districts.


A shortfall in next year’s foundation formula could result in a 2 percent decrease in expected funds for Missouri school districts.

In a memo sent out by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on Wednesday, the financial impact for all of the state’s 523 districts was detailed.

“My thoughts are we built a budget around that expected funding,” said Superintendent Dr. Jerry Giger.

Since Gov. Jay Nixon’s budget allocated $43 million less than what was expected in the next step of the formula. Since the state’s fiscal year starts in July, the reduction wouldn’t be felt until the summer.

In Rolla, the cut would give $275,740 less than what the foundation formula calls for; Newburg schools will be short $41,609.

The announcement isn’t so much as a surprise, since the difference in what Nixon proposed and what was expected has been widely reported for several weeks. It does put the reduction into perspective of how much each district is bound to lose.

Republican legislators for their part, have been opposing the reduction in funding, demanding Nixon fully fund the formula.

Rep. Dan Brown (R-Rolla) wrote an op-ed in Wednesday’s Rolla Daily News, calling on Nixon to meet with legislators to work out how to fully fund the formula.

“This shortfall will hit rural districts, even those of Rolla, St. James and Newburg much harder than urban districts in St. Louis or Kansas City because of those districts’ larger tax base,” Brown said in his column.

After the announcement was made, Giger said Rolla has been able to keep conserving money, with expected increases in health care and utilities not happening. The district doesn’t have any plans for cuts this year to compensate.

“Not right now, 80 percent of our budget is based around staff members,” Giger said.

At Newburg schools, which receives considerably less from the state than Rolla, a two percent reduction could be an impediment for future improvement.

According to Superintendent John Westerman, the announcement wasn’t a surprise, it was funding he hoped will help Newburg build up financial reserves, an area the district has been wanting to improve.

Final word on what will happen with foundation formula won’t come until the budgetting process concludes in the spring. The figures distributed by DESE?may not, however, be the final ones.

According to an Associated Press article, the House of Representatives Budget Committee approved a different plan that would provide smaller cuts for some districts and larger cuts for others.

“We will have to find a way to work through this,” Westerman said.