The House and Senate have given final approval to legislation that would re-institute a cap on the amount the state needs to provide each year to the foundation formula that funds public schools in Missouri. The House approved legislation last week that included the cap as part of a broader education reform package. The legislation approved this week, which is now on the way to the governor’s desk, focuses primarily on the funding cap.
Under current law, the funding formula increases each year, and even as the legislature increases school funding, it continues to falls short of the amount called for by the formula. The funding plan previously had a five percent cap in place to control the rate of growth, but the cap was removed by the legislature in 2010. The sponsor of the bill has said putting the cap back in place would give the legislature a realistic chance to fully fund the formula in future years.
Despite the fact the legislature has approved an increase of more than $70 million for the foundation formula in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, the formula calls for an additional $550 million in funds. In addition, without the cap in place, the formula would grow by another $400 million next year. Lawmakers who supported the change said the cap will put an attainable level of funding in place for the legislature going forward. They said setting an attainable target for funding and hitting that target will have positive results for schools, students, and the state.
The bill is now in the hands of the governor, who has publicly stated he does not support the measure. If he vetoes the bill, the legislature will then be put in position to consider a veto override, which requires a two-thirds vote in both chambers.