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  • Missouri Legislature 2015 Wrap-Up Post

     

    The First Regular Session of the 98th Missouri General Assembly ended on May 15th. During the 4.5-month-long session, a number of bills affecting Missouri public schools were the subjects of debate. From budgets to bullying to school transfer law, here’s a summary of the biggest education-related bills of the session.

    State Budget Approval & the Foundation Formula
    Congress passed the state’s Fiscal Year 2016 operating budget. The budget, which will go into effect July 1st, includes an $84 million increase in funding for the Foundation Formula. Despite the increase, the Formula remains under-funded by more than $440 million.

    Learn more: Understanding the Missouri Foundation Formula

    Supplemental Budget Approval
    The state’s supplemental budget bill, which helps cover unexpected expenses in the current year, was passed during the legislative session. The bill allocated $3.78 million to K-12 schools and $3.4 million to early childhood special education programs.

    A+ Funding for Illegal Immigrants
    Legislators passed a bill that will exclude illegal immigrants from qualifying for Missouri A+ Program scholarship funding. The bill was designed to ensure that residents have state scholarship funding priority. Opponents of the bill are concerned that students brought to the United States as children are being punished unfairly and prevented from achieving higher education goals. (Source)

    Learn more: Missouri’s A+ Program Benefits Thousands Each Year

    Higher Education Funding
    HB3 increases funding for Missouri’s public higher education institutions by $12 million. The bill was passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor.

    School Transfers
    Legislature passed a school transfer bill (HB42) that opponents hope will be vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon. The bill, which would expand charter and virtual schools in the state, would also affect accreditation and school transfer.

    Under the bill, individual schools — not entire school districts — would earn accreditation. Students would be able to transfer from a failing school to an accredited school in their home districts. If an accredited school doesn’t exist in the student’s district, the student could still transfer outside the district.

    Failing schools would still be required to pay tuition and transportation costs for transfer students. The bill placed no limits on the cost of tuition charged by receiving districts. (Source)

    Learn more: School Transfer: An Expensive Law for Struggling Schools

    Day Care Bill
    SB341, which was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, requires day care centers to establish safe sleep policies and to disclose registration of unvaccinated children. The bill also establishes reporting procedures for juveniles with sexual behavior issues. (Source)

    Bullying
    A prominent anti-bullying bill didn’t survive the session. HB458 would have made school anti-bullying policy requirements stricter. The bill defined bullying and cyber bullying, and called for schools to play a more active role in suicide prevention. Many schools already have already enacted written anti-bullying policies on their own, but the bill would have legally required them to do so. (Source)

    Learn more: Bullying in Schools: How Adults Can Help

    A New President for the State Board of Education
    Unrelated to lawmaking, but coinciding with the legislative session, the State Board of Education elected a new president, Charlie Shields of St. Joseph, to replace former president Peter Herschend. Shields is the Chief Operating Officer at Truman Medical Centers, and served 20 years in the Missouri General Assembly. (Source)

    Missouri Parent is a free service for all Missouri parents and others who have an interest in public education. We aim to provide accurate and timely information on education funding and legislative issues that impact public education.

    To continue to learn about policies affecting your child’s Missouri public school education, bookmark Missouri Parent News and connect with Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter.


  • What is a Debt Service Levy?

     

    Each year, dozens of Missouri school districts use bond issues to pay for school improvements. Since the bond is borrowed money that’s backed by the full faith and credit of the community, the community must have a plan for how to pay bond debt back. Enter the debt service levy.

    Debt service levies are property tax levies used by communities to repay bonds. It’s common to see levy information written in cents-to-the dollar. For example, an Independence, Missouri bond issue was paired with a debt service levy of $0.85 to $1.

    That doesn’t mean that property owners would have owed just $0.85 or $1 each if the bond passed. Instead, it meant that property owners would owe $0.85 or $1 in taxes for every one hundred dollars of value that their property was assessed at. That particular bond was for $85 million in capital projects for the district.

    What does that look like for the average taxpayer?

    It means that if the final debt service levy was $0.85, then a property with property assessed at $50,000 would owe $425 per year in property taxes toward the debt service levy. That tax would help the district to repay the $85 million bond that helped improve its schools.

    Learn More: Read Missouri’s Law Governing Tax Levies and Bonded Indebtedness.

    Note: Most districts are required to set and publish their tax rates by September 1st. Other districts are required to report by October 1st.

    To continue to learn more about how your taxes affect public school funding in Missouri, please bookmark Missouri Parent News and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. Have a topic you’d like to hear more about? Let us know by leaving a comment here or on Facebook.


  • Tools to Use: State Auditor’s Bond List

     

    The Missouri State Auditor's website lists every General Obligation (GO) Bond issued in Missouri since 1999, with a few exceptions. If you want to know what school bonds have been issued in your child’s district — or in a district where your family might relocate — you can visit this link.

    Learn More: What is a School Bond Issue?

    Features of the Missouri State Auditor’s Bond List

    · Search for bonds by the year they were issued
    · See a comprehensive list of school bond issues by district
    · Access each bond’s Bond Registration Report, which includes:

    o Name of district
    o County
    o Amount of bond
    o Date of issue
    o Interest rates
    o Purpose of bond
    o ...and more

    Tweet with us using the hashtag #MoEdTools.

    Why You’d Want to Use the Auditor’s Bond List
    The Missouri State Auditor’s website shows you what bonds have been issued in your district, and the site can be helpful for understanding how bonds might affect your local taxes.

    One of the most important features of the State Auditor’s website is the Bond Registration Report. Every registered bond has a Bond Registration Report that explains the original stated purpose of the bond. Because bonds can only be used for the purpose(s) stated on the ballot, your district may not use bond money for any purposes other than those in the Bond Registration Report.

    Click on the name of your local school district on the Bond Registration List to access your school district’s bond registration report*. If you have any doubts about how your district has used bond money, check its Bond Registration Report to read the bond’s original stated purpose.

    *Note that some school districts have multiple active bonds. To find for all of the past and present bond issues in your local district, enter your school district into the search bar and choose “Between 1999 and 2015”.

    This post is part of an ongoing series called Tools to Use. Each post highlights an educational, legislative, or funding tool that helps Missouri public school parents navigate policy and funding issues in the state. Click here to learn more about Missouri Parent.

    For regular updates that provide a greater understanding of the public education system, bookmark Missouri Parent News or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. Share our Tools to Use posts with your network using the hashtag #MoEdTools.


  • What Is a School Bond Issue?

     

     

    Have you ever seen a school bond issue on your local ballot, but not been sure exactly what a bond issue really is? This post will explain school bond issues and the tax levies used to repay them. We’ll also introduce a topic that we’ll go into great detail on later this week: operating levies.

    School Bond Issues: The General Obligation Bond
    In most cases, school bond issues are placed on the ballot when a district needs to make capital (i.e. construction) improvements that aren’t funded elsewhere in the school’s budget.

    In most cases, school bonds are General Obligation, or GO, Bonds. GO bonds are municipal bonds used to fund projects, like schools, that don’t generate enough revenue to pay for themselves.

    According to Investopedia.com, the GO bond is, “a municipal bond backed by the credit and ‘taxing power’ of the issuing jurisdiction rather than the revenue from a given project.” (Source)

    Schools don’t need to use assets as collateral for capital projects in the same way that traditional construction projects would. The full faith and credit of voters backs project costs. And unlike a for-profit construction project — for example, a new shopping center — schools don’t need to generate enough revenue to cover the cost of capital projects. That’s where tax levies come into play.

    Full Faith and Credit of the Voters
    Tax levies are often pledged in order to meet the debt service requirements of school bonds. Rather than requiring the school district to generate a substantial enough profit to cover its construction investments, local voters’ personal property taxes go up. This tax increase allows the community to pay back bondholders for the cost of the local school’s capital project. (Source, Source, Source)

    The Missouri Auditor’s Office explains:

    “When authorized by state law, Missouri’s local governments, such as school districts and municipalities, may borrow money to finance capital and other projects by issuing general obligation (GO) bonds, which are guaranteed by the ‘full faith and credit’ of the issuer since the entity can levy a general tax to make GO bond repayments.” (Source)

    It’s important to note that a debt services tax levy for GO bond repayment isn’t the same thing as an operating tax levy. Operating tax levies fund a school district’s operating expenses like utilities and salaries. Springfield Public Schools sums up the difference between a bond and an operating levy on its website:

    “A school district requests a bond issue when it needs to make capital improvements such as building or renovating schools. A tax levy funds operating expenses like salaries, utilities and textbooks. State law is very specific that money from a bond issue may only be used for capital improvements and not to fund a district’s operating budget.” (Source)

    Learn more: What is an Operating Levy?

    Bonds Must Fulfill Their Stated Purpose
    There’s one final aspect of GO bonds that’s important to understand: Bonds are for specific uses, only. The money raised through the bond can be used for the purpose stated on the ballot, and for nothing else. If you see a school bond issue on your local ballot, you can rest assured that that bond issue will cover exactly what the ballot says, and nothing else.

    You can see a full list of bonds registered with the Missouri State Auditor’s Office here.

    If this post was informative, and if you’d like to continue to learn more about policies and funding issues facing Missouri’s K-12 public schools, bookmark Missouri Parent News. You can also connect with us on Facebook or Twitter for daily updates about Missouri public schools.



  • What is an Operating Levy?

     

    When you go to the polls, you might see both bond issues and operating levies on your local ballot. Do you know how an operating levy is different from a bond issue? Keep reading, because we’re about to explain.

    An operating levy is a relatively flexible source of funding for Missouri schools. Unlike bond issues, which can only be used for capital projects, operating levies can be used to support the school in a variety of ways, including salaries, bill paying, and technology upgrades. And while bond issues can be used exclusively for the purposes stated on the ballot, operating levies can be used to cover expenses that aren’t articulated on the ballot.

    Learn More: What is a Bond Issue?

    Springfield Public Schools explains the difference between a bond and an operating levy well: “A school district requests a bond issue when it needs to make capital improvements such as building or renovating schools. A tax levy funds operating expenses like salaries, utilities and textbooks. State law is very specific that money from a bond issue may only be used for capital improvements and not to fund a district’s operating budget.” (Source)

    Operating levies are covered under The Missouri School Operating Tax Levy Agreement, or Amendment 2. Passed in 1998, the constitutional amendment says that school boards can set a levy of up to $2.75 without a vote. A simple majority vote is required to pass levies that are between $2.78 and $6.00, and for a levy of more than $6.00, a two-thirds majority vote is required. (Source)

    Historically, levies have been used to hire teachers, increase existing teacher salaries, make capital updates, and help with general operating expenses for Missouri’s schools.

    This 2013 levy in Springfield, Missouri was designed to hire more teachers for the district, so that the number of educators there kept pace with the district’s growing enrollment.

    In 2014, in Warrensburg, an operating tax levy was proposed to help “offset the decline in state funding over the last five years, increase staff salaries, add two school resource officers and upgrade technology.” (Source)

    And this year, as you prepare to go your local polls, you might see a proposed operating levy increase as well.

    Public schools in Independence, Missouri hope to see a 24-cent increase this year. The district could raise $2 million annually through its levy increase, enabling it to hire teachers, offer competitive teacher salaries, and invest in professional development, technology, and building maintenance costs. (Source)

    And Dallas County, in Southwest Missouri, is also looking for an operating levy increase. The district would use the new funds for a combination of capital projects, teacher hiring and retention, and “additional needs of the district.” These “additional needs” are the type of needs that operating levies, but not bond issues, can help fund.

    Missouri Parent aims to help you better understand funding and legislation that affects your child’s K-12 public education in the State of Missouri. If you found this post helpful, you might like this post explaining school bond issues. Bookmark Missouri Parent News and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to continue to learn more about Missouri public schools.


  • Education a Prominent Theme During Missouri State of State Address

    Education was a prominent theme in Governor Nixon’s State of the State Address on January 21st. “Education is the great equalizer,” said the Governor in his speech. “Because when every child has a quality education, every child has the opportunity to succeed.”

    The Governor listed increased funding, heightened academic expectations, and stricter accountability measures as evidence of the state’s legislative progress for education. He made indirect reference to #MoNoOn3; the statewide effort to defeat Missouri Amendment 3, which would have used standardized test scores to evaluate public school teachers.

    Academically, he cited improved math and reading scores and progress in troubled school districts as ways that Missouri’s schools are “rising to the challenge”. He also highlighted several specific communities across the state that have made academic progress or have supported public educators.

    Governor Nixon was honest, however, that Missouri’s public education system isn’t where it needs to be. In order to give kids, “the best”, Governor Nixon proposed the following funding and legislative changes in 2015:

    · An $11 million increase to existing preschool budgets
    · A proposed record level of funding for K-12 education
    · An additional $150 million for public schools
    · A “clean fix” to the debate over Missouri’s school transfer law
    · Start-up grants to extend Project Lead the Way (a STEM education program) to 350 more Missouri elementary schools
    · An additional $25 million for Missouri higher education
    · Upgrading higher education facilities, especially those in STEM programs

    You can read the full text of Governor Nixon’s January 21st State of the State Address here.

    As the 98th General Assembly proceeds, education legislation and funding will be ongoing subjects of discussion and debate. Part of our mission at Missouri Parent is to provide you with accurate and timely information on education funding and legislative issues that impact public education, so we’ll continue to share relevant policy updates throughout this legislative session.

    Visit Missouri Parent News or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates about K-12 public school education, funding, and policy in the State of Missouri as we continue to post regular updates from the 98th General Assembly.


  • What the Missouri Hold Harmless Clause Means for Our Students and Schools

     

    Just like you, those of ust at Missouri Parent see the phrase “hold harmless” used a lot in conversations about funding for Missouri’s K-12 public schools, but we rarely see the term explained in simple terms. Policy makers and education professionals might understand the hold harmless clause, but does the average Missouri parent?

    The phrase “hold harmless” refers to the more than 170 public school districts that fall under a specific clause of the Missouri Foundation Formula. That clause says that no Missouri school district will receive less funding in the current year than it received in the 2005-6 school year.

    Is your local public school district a hold harmless district? Check this list to see.

    Educators use a finely-tuned formula to determine which schools are held harmless and which are not. The formula takes each district’s Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA), its State Adequacy Target (SAT), and its local funding efforts into account. (Learn more about the WADA and SAT in this post about the Foundation Formula.)

    The bottom line is that if a Missouri school district’s current funding level is less now than it was in 2006, it is a hold harmless district.

    The subject of hold harmless districts is, and will continue to be, relevant to public education funding and legislation. Keep coming back to the Missouri Parent Blog for accurate and timely information that impacts public education, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for daily education news and updates.


  • An Unexpected Increase in Income for Missouri

     

    Missouri ended 2014 with more state income than lawmakers anticipated. According to St. Louis Public Radio, “State income – primarily taxes — rose 10.7 percent in December, compared to the same period a year ago” (Source).

    As a result, the state has just a bit more money to work with in the first half of the fiscal year than lawmakers expected. Overall revenue is up 5.1 percent, which equates to an additional $190 million in general revenue funds compared to the same window of time in 2013.

    The majority of the state’s increased revenues came through individual income taxes, sales and use tax collections, corporate income taxes, and corporate franchise tax collections.

    We aren’t sure yet what, exactly, this means for public schools. Hopefully the increase will mean that Governor Nixon isn’t forced to make budget withholds during the rest of this fiscal year to keep the state’s budged balanced, but it’s too early to be sure.

    Our best hope? That some the state’s unexpected income increase can prevent budget cuts for the more than half-a-million Missouri students whose funding could be reduced if the Foundation Formula doesn’t reach full funding in 2015.

    Learn more: Missouri Law Will Reduce Funding for More than 630,000 Public School Students.

    The First Regular Session of the 98th General Assembly just began in Jefferson City. We’ll continue to share information about activity in the legislature that affects public schools. Bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about education funding and policy in the state of Missouri.


  • Missouri Legislature Appoints New Leaders for Education

     

    With the reorganization of the 98th Missouri General Assembly, the Speaker of the House and the President Pro-Tem have appointed committee chairs, made committee assignments, and even restructured several legislative committees. The committee chairs with a direct leadership role in public education and funding are as follows:

    · Representative Tom Flanigan (R-Joplin), House Budget Chair
    · Representative Kurt Bahr (R-O’Fallon), Regular Standing Committee on Appropriations- Elementary and Secondary Education
    · Representative Diane Franklin (R-Camdenton), Regular Standing Committee on Children and Families
    · Representative Lyle Rowland (R-Cedarcreek), Regular Standing Committee on Emerging Issues in Education
    · Representative Mike Lair (R-Chillicothe), Select Standing Committee on Education
    · Representative Kathy Swan (R-Cape Girardeau) Regular Standing Committee on Elementary and Secondary Education
    · Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), Appropriations
    · Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), Education

    We congratulate all of these leaders on their appointments and look forward to their efforts for public education in Missouri.


  • Missouri Law Will Reduce Funding for More than 630,000 Public School Students

    I

    In April 2014, Missouri Lawmakers passed an important early childhood education bill with bi-partisan support. The passage of HB 1689 made it possible for schools to count pre-kindergarten students who qualify for free and reduced lunches in their in their daily attendance calculations in order to draw state funding.

    Learn what the State Adequacy Target is here.

    Unfortunately, this bill — a bill that began with good intentions — ultimately exceeded its original scope and intent. Although it was designed to support early childhood education, the wording of the bill placed education funding at stake for more than two-thirds of Missouri’s students.

    Subsection 8 of section 128.031 says that:

    “Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, in any fiscal year during which the total formula appropriation is insufficient to fully fund the entitlement calculation of this section, the department of elementary and secondary education shall adjust the state adequacy target in order to accommodate the appropriation level for the given fiscal year. In no manner shall any payment modification be rendered for any district qualified to receive payments under subsection 2 of this section based on insufficient appropriations.”

    What this wording establishes is that if the state doesn’t meet education funding goals in 2015, a lot of students in Missouri could see funding in their district redistributed to other districts.

    Exactly how many is “a lot”? Based on our estimates, 639,000 students will see a decrease in funding if Missouri fails to increase funding for the Foundation Formula during the 2015 legislative session.

    Learn more: Understanding the Missouri Foundation Formula

    The nuances of this clause create a questionable situation for Missouri schools. Missouri’s 193 hold harmless districts are guaranteed to see a 3.2% funding increase next year while 295 districts will lose anywhere from a fraction of a percent to 10% in state funding. Finally, 32 districts will become hold harmless districts, meaning that they’ll see increases of up to 3.2% in state aid.

    What Does HB1689 Mean for Your Child?

    If your child is one of the approximately 242,000 students in hold harmless districts, your child’s school district will see an increase in funding in 2015. If your child is one of the 639,000 students not attending school in a hold harmless district, that district could lose up to 10% of its state funding.

    To see exactly how much money your child’s district will gain or lose, see this chart published by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

    HB1689 creates an unequal funding environment for Missouri’s school districts, but legislators probably won’t repeal the bill. For all districts to receive equal funding, the General Assembly must appropriate approximately $125 million more toward the Foundation Formula than was appropriated in the current fiscal year.

    This funding will fully fund the $6,131 per student State Adequacy Target, and will prevent money from being redistributed away from the more than half-a-million students attending school in districts that are not qualified as hold harmless.

    What Can I Do?

    A student in one district should not be hurt at the expense of students in another. Contact your legislators and tell them that the Missouri Foundation Formula needs $125 million now to fix the self-inflicted wound created by HB 1689 and to ensure that all students in Missouri have access to equal public educational opportunities.

    Find my Missouri Senator.
    Find my Missouri House Representative.

  • The Missouri Legislature Begins Anew

     

     

    January 2014 marked the beginning of another session of the Missouri Legislature. This is the First Regular Session of the 98th General Assembly.

    As the Missouri Parent project also exists to inform our audience of public policy issues which impact public education in our state, you will begin to see more content published here and shared across our social media about the activities of our elected officials.

    We would like to share a couple general pieces of information you may find helpful as the session works its way towards completion in May.

    • You can find contact information, listen to live floor debate, and follow the progress of legislation through the Missouri General Assembly website. Additionally, The Missouri Senate and the Missouri House of Representatives have their own websites with these functions.

    • There are several committees in the legislature which have importance to our public schools. These include the House Appropriations - Elementary and Secondary Education, the House Select Committee on the Budget, the House Elementary and Secondary Education, Emerging Issues in Education, the Select Committee on Education, the Senate Education, and the Senate Appropriations committees.

    • The Missouri Senate and the Missouri House both provide web functions for finding legislation by topic.

    • You can follow live progress or ongoing discussions and posts about the Missouri Legislatures activities on social media by following the hashtag #MoLeg. Here are links to the search on Twitter and Facebook. You will also see #MoLeg on Instagram, Google+, and occasionally in our #MOParent posts.

    • Finally, from the Missouri House site, we share a page highlighting legislative processes in Missouri and a glossary of legislative terms which you will find very handy!

    If there are any other questions you have about our policy discussions, the legislature or issues you would like to see addressed, please leave a comment below or contact us at any time.


  • FORBES Quantifies the Unquantifiable: Return on Investment in Education

     

     

    FORBES published a story called, “Here’s a Plan to Turn Around Education – and Generate $225 Trillion” that tasked a small group of education policy experts with a mighty order. FORBES asked them to find out what it would take, what it would cost, and what the return on investment would be for America to become one of the highest performers in the world in education.

    The full story, printed in the December 15, 2014, issue of FORBES, is six pages long, but don’t worry: we’ll give you the overview right here in less than 500 words.

    We would like to hear your thoughts, criticisms, and similar ideas to this effort in the comments below or through our Contact page.

    The Question
    FORBES asked what it would take to get America’s student to a top five global ranking in academics. They looked at math scores, graduation rates, and college acceptance and completion rates.

    The Goals
    The study had three big goals:
    1. Identify the key policy changes America would need to make;
    2. Estimate how much those changes would cost;
    3. Estimate the national return on investment if the policy changes were successfully implemented.

    The Answers: 1 – Policy Changes
    Researchers identified five policies that the United States would need to address in order to reach a global top 5 ranking in education. Here are those areas and a basic description of each:

    1. Teacher Efficacy
    a. Attracting and retaining top college graduates.
    b. Measure teacher effectiveness.
    2. Universal pre-K
    a. “Guaranteed pre-kindergarten for every American.”
    3. Common Core Standards
    a. Using current Common Core efforts as preliminary steps, create national standards that ensure students graduate college-ready and globally competitive.
    4. Blended Learning
    a. Provide national broadband coverage and put a computer in the hands of every student.
    b. Deliver lessons that are personalized, matching each child’s needs and pace.
    5. School Leadership
    a. Empower principals and hold them accountable for educational results.

    The Answers: 2 – Costs
    To make necessary changes to those five policy areas would cost $6.2 trillion over 20 years. Or, as FORBES says, “$310 billion a year in today’s dollars.”

    The Answers: 3 – National Return on Investment
    The return on investment of these policy changes is good. Really good. According to FORBES, “If you were a for-profit investor, you could discount these findings as much as you want, and you’d still be falling over yourself to invest.”

    How good is good? Somewhere in the ballpark of $225 trillion, spread over 80 years. For a $6.2 trillion investment, that’s a payoff we should all be willing to stand behind.

    You can read the full FORBES story Here's a Plan to Turn Around U.S. Education -- and Generate $225 Trillion.

    For more on education policy, education funding, and Missouri’s public schools, bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


  • Missouri Legislature Begins Filing Education Bills

    The filing period for the 98th Missouri General Assembly opened on December 1, 2014 and concluded on January 6, 2015. Several veteran and new legislators have filed education-related bills which could impact all Missourians. While filing a bill does not guarantee any of these ideas will become law in Missouri, we will continue to monitor and report on these bills as they move through the legislative process. 

    The embedded tweets below contain links to the actual bill information on the web pages of the Missouri House of Representatives and Missouri Senate. For more information on the bills, feel free to contact Missouri Parent or the sponsor of the legislation.

    *Updated with more pre-filed education-related bills, 1.6.2015

  • The Impact of Refundable and Non-Refundable Tax Credits

    Tax Credits are a hot topic in Missouri, in part because they make up so much of the state’s budget. In Fiscal Year 2012, for instance, Missouri projected total expenditures of $8.64 billion. According to the Tax Credit Review Commission, more than $629 of those expenditures were projected to be consumed by tax credits. (Source)

    When an individual or business receives a tax credit, that individual or business receives a dollar-for-dollar reduction in its taxes due at the end of the year. Tax credits are the equivalent of subtracting an exact number of dollars from taxes due to the state. In other words, a $100 tax credit applied to a $1000 tax bill would result in $900 due to the state.

    Tax credits and tax deductions are not the same things, although many people confuse the two. Tax deductions aren’t a reduction in the taxes an individual or company owes. Instead, they’re a reduction in the total taxable income an individual or business has to report.

    Learn More: What Exactly Is a Tax Credit?

    Refundable vs. Non-Refundable Tax Credits
    There are two big categories of tax credits: refundable tax credits and non-refundable tax credits. When an individual or business receives a non-refundable tax credit, the credit cannot reduce the amount of taxes due to less than $0.

    For example, if you own $500 in taxes and receive a $600 non-refundable tax credit, your balance due will be $0.

    Refundable tax credits can be profitable for the recipient. When the amount of a refundable tax credit exceeds the amount of money an individual or business owes on state taxes, the individual or business gets a tax refund.

    For example, if you owe $500 in taxes and receive a $600 refundable tax credit, you will receive a $100 refund from the state. Or, as TurboTax puts it, “For refundable tax credits, if you would otherwise owe less than $1,800, you get the difference back as a refund!” (Source)

    Missouri Works goes into more detail by explaining that unused credits can even be bought and sold:

    “Tax credits can only be applied to tax liability for the year in which they were earned. Any annual unused balance is fully refundable. The credits may also be transferred, sold or assigned.” (Source)

    Should Missouri Offer Refundable Tax Credits?
    Providing incentive to companies to do business in Missouri is a good thing, but should the state—which still hasn’t met its responsibility to the Foundation Formula for public education—provide tax credits that can be transferred, sold, or assigned? And is it a good idea for Missouri to offer incentives that exceed taxable incomes to the point that individuals and businesses can profit directly from those tax credits?

    Missouri Parent will continue to raise more questions about and cover more topics surrounding Missouri’s tax credits, and the way they impact public schools. To stay informed on legislative and funding issues like tax credits, bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.


  • Missouri’s Low Income Housing Tax Credits

     

    Missouri struggles to support public education. Year after year, lawmakers make choices about general revenue expenditures like those that support Missouri’s K-12 public schools. They also make decisions about tax credits, like Missouri’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). Year after year, the Foundation Formula for public schools remains underfunded by almost exactly the same amount of money that goes to LIHTCs.

    Learn More: Understanding the Foundation Formula

    Compared to other states, Missouri is incredibly generous with LIHTCs. Only 14 states offer LIHTC programs and of them, only California and Georgia spend more money on those low income housing tax credits than Missouri does. (Source)

    On the surface, this may not seem like a problem, but the reality is that LIHTCs aren’t an investment in Missouri or Missouri’s future. Studies have shown little to no return on investment for tax credits. To make matters worse, for every dollar spent on LIHTCs, more than half is lost to accounting, taxes, and middlemen.

    According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, only 43 cents of every dollar spent on low income housing tax credits (LIHTC) is spent constructing new housing. “The rest of the money is lost in an accounting haze or flows to federal taxes, investors, and middlemen.” (Source)

    LIHTCs are the single biggest category of tax credits in the state. The Missouri Tax Credit Review Commission identified LIHTCs as the single most expensive tax credit to the state. (Source)

    Unlike LIHTCs, education is an investment with a high return. Education, especially early education has proven time and again to bring money back to those who invest in it.

    According to the Economic Policy Institute:

    “States can build a strong foundation for economic success and shared prosperity by investing in education. Providing expanded access to high quality education will not only expand economic opportunity for residents, but also likely do more to strengthen the overall state economy than anything else a state government can do.” (Source)

    The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) cites early childhood education as a good investment for governments. According to UNICEF,

    “Efforts to improve early child development are an investment, not a cost. Available cost-benefit ratios of early intervention indicate that for every dollar spent on improving early child development, returns can be on average 4 to 5 times the amount invested, and in some cases, much higher.” (Source)

    LIHTCs provide little to no return on investment, while education offers a 400-500 percent return. Our lawmakers support LIHTCs but refuse to fund Missouri’s schools fully. This situation sounds to us like another example of #MissouriMath.

    If you’d like to learn more about tax credits and Missouri public schools, come back often to the Missouri Parent Blog. We’ll continue to share information about legislation and funding issues that related to public education. Bookmark the blog or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates.

    Learn more:
    Tax Credits Don’t Attract Businesses to Missouri
    What Exactly is a Tax Credit?


  • Tax Credits Don’t Attract Businesses to Missouri

    Studies show that Missouri might earn more money by investing in education than it does by investing in tax credits designed to spur economic development.

    State governments that emphasize tax credits and other corporate tax perks to corporations in hopes of enticing them to do business inside state lines are missing the boat, according to this 2013 report by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

    In a single paragraph, the report summarizes a complex and important investment issue that Missouri Parent will continue to explore in the weeks and months ahead: the indirect cost of state tax credits to Missouri’s public school students.

    Learn More: What Exactly is a Tax Credit?

    Many lawmakers believe that the tax credit is a powerful incentive to lure businesses into Missouri, but tax credits might not be as effective as they think. The EPI’s report on says that tax incentives aren’t financially relevant to big business budgets:

    “While cutting costs to business has become the principal focus of economic development policy in many states, more and more states are cutting programs across the spectrum to lower state taxes. In many cases, these ideas are promoted as a way to attract employers from other states—to steal jobs by offering incentives to business leaders. But the preponderance of evidence has shown that in the long run these strategies re inefficient and ineffective (Fisher 2013; Mazerov 2013; Lynch 2004). State and local taxes on business are simply too small a share of total business costs to play a significant role in location decisions...” (Source)

    If state tax breaks have been proven not to be a significant factor when industry leader select locations for their operations, why does Missouri continue to spend more than half a billion dollars each year on tax credits? This is one of the questions the Missouri Tax Credit Commission tried to answer.

    The Missouri Tax Credit Review Commission

    The Missouri Tax Credit Review Commission was charged in 2010 and again in 2012 to explore “the steadily increasing portion of the State’s budget which Tax Credits consume.”

    According to the Commission’s 2012 report, “for FY12, the State will have total expenditures of $8.64 billion. Of those total expenditures, tax credit will consume more than $629 million.”

    The Commission made recommendations in 2010 to scale back tax credits, but no significant changes were made. Again in 2012, the Commission recommended that Missouri tax credits — which cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars each year with little-to-no direct return on investment — be reigned in. Meanwhile, public school education — which studies have shown has a sevenfold return on investment — remains underfunded in Missouri. (Source)

    In 2012, Missouri spent $629 million on tax credits. In 2013, it came up $621 million short in Foundation Formula funding for Missouri K-12 public schools. For now, it seems as though little as changed since the Commission first set of recommendations in 2010: Businesses keep on winning, and public school students continue to lose.

    Missouri Parent will continue to write about tax credits, school funding, and education policy issues that impact your child’s K-12 and higher education in the state of Missouri. To stay up-to-date, bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.





  • Stoddard County Schools & the Missouri Foundation Formula

     

    Each year, tens of thousands of Missouri students receive less money for their public school education than state law requires. These shortfalls accentuate differences between schools that operate in areas with high local property tax revenues and schools in areas with lower local tax efforts.

    This is precisely the gap that the Missouri Foundation Formula, which was passed into law in 2005, was designed to bridge. The formula establishes a concrete spending target — the amount of money that should be spent (at minimum) in order to adequately educate each K-12 student in the state, and it helps local districts make up the difference between local tax revenues and the per-pupil state adequacy target.

    Learn more about the Missouri Foundation Formula

    It’s sometimes hard to wrap our heads around the systemic underfunding of Missouri’s schools. Most Missourians can’t image what $500 million looks like, much less how a $500 million shortfall would affect an individual teacher’s classroom or the staffing of an individual principal’s school.

    That’s why Missouri Parent wants to highlight specific schools, districts, and counties that are underfunded by the state. Today, we’ll talk specifically about the seven school districts in Stoddard County, Missouri.

    Underfunding in Stoddard County, Missouri
    Stoddard County is almost as far south as you can get in the state before you cross the border into Northeastern Arkansas. Generally speaking, it is in between Cape Girardeau and the Bootheel. It’s a small county: less than 30,000 people live there. The median household income is $37,303 per year—almost exactly $10,000 below the state average. (source)

    Stoddard County’s school districts are small. Bell City R-II is the small district in the county with just 214 students K-12 and Dexter R-XI is the largest with 2,119 students. The remaining districts; Advance (405 students), Bernie R-XIII (522), Bloomfield R-XIV (700), Puxico R-VII (701), and Richland R-IV (573) have less 3,000 students altogether.

    When you add every K-12 student in Stoddard County, there are just over 5,200 kids. For comparison, St. Charles R-VI—a single St. Louis metro area school district—has just over 5,000 students. And that’s not even close to Missouri’s largest single district; 34 districts have more students in them than St. Charles does.

    Finding Information About Underfunding in Rural Schools
    Small town newspapers like the ones in Stoddard County don’t have the reach that their big city counterparts do, and metro-area media sources aren’t likely to interview rural Missouri educators whose towns fall outside of the paper’s core readership.

    Stoddard County only has one daily newspaper. It’s name is The Daily Statesman, and while it’s stories are available online, it’s not even in the top ten Missouri newspapers (source). The paper has less than 10 staff members listed on its website, but it does its best to cover education news in the county.

    According to The Daily Statesman, the Missouri Foundation Formula underfunds all seven of Stoddard County’s school districts. While there are only a few published interviews online discussing the effects of this underfunding on students and schools, what the existing interviews say is worth hearing.

    The superintendent of Bloomfield, Toni Hill, told The Daily Statesman that her district is funded at 93 percent of the Foundation Formula, and that the district can’t afford further cuts:

    "We are always very conservative when budgeting revenue," said Hill. "The district does not have enough reserve in our account balances to make up for any shortfall." (Source - March 2014)


    Underfunding of the Foundation Formula is threatening the ability of rural districts like Bloomfield, to keep its doors open. This is bad for communities and for kids; schools are a critical component of a town’s economic architecture, and in rural areas, kids without a local school might have to be bussed 30 miles or more to the closest accredited districts.

    The Richland Schools superintendent, Frank Killian, offered an even more pointed quote to the paper than Hill did. Killian told The Daily Statesman that,

    "Schools have made cuts in the past several years to get down to skeleton crews, but unlike our legislators, our educators will get the job done even when facing lack of funding, which is quite evident by the great scores Stoddard County Schools are producing," (Source - April 2014)

    Missouri’s educators are undoubtedly working hard to help their students be as successful as possible. What Killian said is reinforced by national polls, which indicate that the majority of Americans believe that even when the education system isn’t perfect, their local educators, administrators, and school boards are doing a good job.

    Rural schools like those in Stoddard County sometimes go unnoticed in statewide media coverage of educational funding and policy issues. One of our goals at Missouri Parent is to keep Missouri’s parents informed about funding and policy issues that affect public school students in the state.

    Students in Missouri’s rural communities should receive adequate access to public school education, just as their metropolitan peers do. Missouri Parent will keep you informed about funding of the Missouri Foundation Formula and other state-level concerns that affect your rural schools. Bookmark the blog or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates.




  • #MissouriMath Doesn’t Add Up

         

    The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics says that “the underpinnings of everyday life, such as making purchases, choosing insurance or health plans, and planning fore retirement, all require mathematical competence. (source)

    Mathematics is taught in Missouri’s K-12 schools and in its colleges and universities. From addition to calculus; statistics to econometrics, Missouri’s students take a wide range of math classes from kindergarten through college. Mathematical competence is emphasized in school, but it seems like the Missouri Legislature uses a different kind of math.

    In Missouri schools, basic math looks something like this:

    2 + 2 = 4

    But in the Missouri Capitol, math looks more like this:

    Tax Cut + Education Funding Needs = Budget Withholds & Program Cuts TWEET THIS

    This is what we call #Missouri Math.

    #MissouriMath is a different kind of math. It involves word problems, real world issues, and impact on real lives. In Jefferson City, math looks like this:

    · Struggling Schools + Underfunded Foundation Formula = Introduction of New Tax Breaks. TWEET THIS
    · #MissouriMath = Tax Cuts + Budget Restrictions = Impacts on Individual Students TWEET THIS
    · #MissouriMath means that legislators can offer tax breaks without accounting for the income gaps they’ll create in the General Revenue.

    And in #MissouriMath, those tax breaks = possible cuts to critical programs like the Missouri A+ Schools Program that have helped improve Missouri’s high school graduation rates, track at-risk students, and guide graduates toward appropriate community college and vocational school programs after high school graduation.

    When it comes to public policy, #MissouriMath looks like this:

    · #MissouriMath = The Passage of SB 509 = Individual Tax Cuts + (-Loss of Funding for Schools)
    · #MissouriMath = Teachers working hours they might never be paid for TWEET THIS
    · #Missouri Math = a $115 million increase the Foundation Formula = a Foundation Formula that’s still underfunded by nearly $500 million.

    #MissouriMath is satirical at times, especially where property taxed-based education funding that leaves poor urban and rural schools far behind the funding levels of their wealthier suburban counterparts is concerned.

    And unfortunately, #MissouriMath like this next equation are anything but satire:

    #MissouriMath = (+1.5% Missouri Lottery Revenue) + (-7.4% Decrease in Lottery Contributions to Public Schools) + (6x increase in Lottery advertising spending on things like these T.V. commercials promoting the Lottery’s commitment to public education)

    #MissouriMath doesn’t have to look like this—in fact, in our eyes, it should look something like this:

    #TheRightMissouriMath = A Fully Funded Foundation Formula TWEET THIS
    #TheRightMissouriMath = Investment in the Missouri A+ Schools Program TWEET THIS
    #TheRightMissouriMath = Giving Our Youngest Learners a Great Start TWEET THIS
    #TheRightMissouriMath = Money to Education not Transportation = Students Get Great Education in Home Districts

    If you’re like the many Missouri parents who rely on Missouri’s public schools to prepare your child for college and career, rally together with Missouri Parent to let Missouri lawmakers know that #MissouriMath doesn’t add up.

    To learn more about the funding and legislative issues facing public schools and impacting K-12 students in Missouri, bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

     

     

  • Schools Can’t Live on Cupcakes Alone: The Case Against School Fundraising

     

    New York City Public Schools teacher Jose Vilson is outspoken about fundraising in public schools. Fundraising, he says, “perpetuates inequity in our schools.” He makes some controversial points:

    Schools aren’t fundraising for the same things
    In some schools, fundraising exists to support extracurricular activities or class trips. In other schools, kids might not have textbooks in core academic subjects if they can’t raise enough money.

    Is it acceptable that students in wealthier school districts can count on textbooks each year because public funding provides them, while students in poorer districts have to fundraise for them? Vilson says it’s not:

    “…what’s “extra” to one school can often be a given for another. Textbooks for every child sounds rudimentary for the general public, but we have schools in this country that either have the teacher buy a set of books or have to fund-raise to get them.” (Source)

    Fundraising for basic academic needs means accepting the status quo
    When parents allow their kids to fundraise for basic educational supplies or teacher salaries, Vilson argues, those families are essentially telling lawmakers that it’s okay not to invest tax money into public education.

    Vilson told The New York Times:

    “When fund-raising is about more than buying new cheerleading uniforms or helping to defray the cost of a class trip, and instead plays an outsized role in funding your school, then you are perpetuating the idea that local and federal government should not be investing in public education; and that's wrong.” (Source)

    Fundraising for education sends the wrong message to kids
    When schools pay for basic educational needs like teachers and textbooks through fundraising instead of through public funding, Vilson says that students get the wrong message. Taxpayers and lawmakers should value education enough to fund educational necessities without kids having ask friends and neighbors for donations:

    “By making this tax investment in education, we are showing our children that education matters, not as a write-off or a favor for a friend, but as part of the way we operate as a city.” (Source)

    “Schools cannot live on cupcakes alone,” says Vilson. Do you agree? Leave a comment on the Missouri Parent Facebook Page or tweet with us about your perspectives on school fundraising.

    Learn More: Your School's Most Successful Fundraiser?

    When Vilson isn’t in the classroom teaching math, he’s blogging, speaking, and advocating for public schools. His writing has been published in The New York Times, Education Week, Al Jazeera America, Huffington Post, Edutopia, and others. You can read the piece we quote here on The New York Times Opinion Pages.

  • What Exactly is a Tax Credit?

    It would be so much easier to make smart voting decisions if we could just get a simple rundown of what each policy means, how much it would cost taxpayers, and how that money would help Missouri.

    A tax topic of much contention right now is Missouri tax credits. Tax credits aren’t just controversial; they’re highly complex. Tax credits can benefit individuals or businesses, and they’re offered both by the federal government and the state of Missouri.

    Each tax credit the state offers to individuals or businesses means less direct tax revenue for the state. Usually, tax credits are offered as a longer-term investment in things like attracting (and keeping) businesses in the state.

    In the months ahead, we’ll be talking a lot on the Missouri Parent Blog about tax credits. Today we’re here to lay the foundation for those conversations by answer the question, “what exactly is as tax credit?”

    Wikipedia calls a tax credit “a sum deducted from the total amount a taxpayer owes to the state,” and The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) defines a tax credit as “a dollar-for-dollar reduction in the tax. Can be deducted directly from taxes owed.”

    Tax credits are easily confused with tax deductions, but they aren’t the same thing. According to the IRS, a tax deduction is “an amount (often a personal or business expense) that reduces income subject to tax.” (source)

    While tax credits are taken dollar-for-dollar from the total taxes owed by an individual or business, tax deductions are a less direct way to reduce tax responsibility.

    What do you mean, “dollar-for-dollar”?

    A tax credit is an amount of money that’s subtracted from the total taxes due to the state. If a business owes $10,000 in taxes and receives a $1,000 tax credit, the equation looks like this:

    $10,000 due - $1,000 tax credit = $9,000 due

    Think of a tax credit as a coupon for a certain number of dollars off a total grocery bill (for example, $25 off your grocery bill). That credit/coupon is applied to your total bill upon checkout. No matter how much you spend, you still save $25. If you spend less than $25, however, you don’t get a refund – you simply walk away with a zero balance.

    This example is simplified and shouldn’t be taken literally. The point that it illustrates, though, is that tax credits are a dollar-for-dollar discount on taxes due.

    Tax Credits & Tax Deduction Both Equal Tax Savings

    Deductions and credits can both reduce the overall taxes owed by an individual or a business, but deductions reduce the taxes owed in a way that’s relative to both the taxpayer’s gross income and their tax bracket.

    The TurboTax Blog sums it up nicely:

    “A tax deduction is something that reduces how much taxable income you claim. A tax credit is something that directly reduces how much tax you owe.” (Source)

    Here are two detailed examples of how a $1,000 tax credit and a $1,000 tax deduction would impact taxes owed:

    Example 1 – Tax Credit: Let’s look back at the above example. Imagine that you received a $1,000 tax credit for your business. This tax credit will be applied dollar-for-dollar to the state taxes you owe on April 15th.

    If your total amount of taxes due to the state total $10,000, you’ll subtract $1,000 from that. Your actual taxes owed are reduced to $9,000.

    $1,000 Tax Credit = $1,000 in Tax Savings

    Example 2 – Tax Deduction: Now, imagine that your family is in the 25% tax bracket, earning $50,000 per year. You receive a tax deduction for $1,000. Your tax bracket (25%) is multiplied by the value of the deduction ($1,000) to find your actual tax savings of $250.

    $1,000 Tax Deduction x 25% Tax Bracket = $250 in Tax Savings

    (Source)

    Summary
    Tax credits are dollar-for-dollar reductions in the total amount of taxes an individual or business owes to the state. The value of a tax credit can be taken at face value; a $1,000 tax credit means that the total taxes due are reduced by $1,000. Tax credits are offered to individuals and to businesses at both the state level and the federal level (i.e. on Missouri state and federal taxes).

    The Missouri Parent Blog will explore tax credits in more detail in the weeks and months to come. Please bookmark the Missouri Parent Blog or follows us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on policy and funding issues affecting Missouri public schools, and for insights on helping your child succeed in school.



  • Missouri A+ Program May Face Cutbacks

    The Missouri Department of Higher Education has announced that there may be a reduction in the number of credit hours eligible for A+ Program reimbursement in the spring semester of 2015.

    The possible cutbacks in A+ funding are part of Governor Jay Nixon’s attempts to keep the Missouri General Revenue budget in balance. 12,000 students received A+ funding in the 2012-13 school year, and that number is expected to hit 15,000 in the 2014-15 school year.

    The increase in anticipated A+ Program expenses comes at a time when the Governor is already struggling to keep the budget balanced. When several tax break bills passed earlier this year, reducing the state’s anticipated tax revenues, Governor Nixon put spending restrictions—including a $2 million A+ Program funding withhold—in place.

    Learn More: The Governor Vetoes Tax Breaks

    The Missouri A+ Program covers two years of education at select community, technical, and vocational schools in Missouri. A+ reimbursements can be used to pay tuition, but are not designed to cover textbooks, personal expenses, or program-specific needs.

    In order to qualify for A+ funding, students must:
    · Attend a designated A+ high school for at least three years
    · Maintain a cumulative 2.5 GPA throughout high school
    · Attain a 95% attendance record from 9th through 12th grade
    · Provide 50 hours of unpaid tutoring or mentoring

    If A+ funding is decreased, students should be prepared to pay for four credit hours in Spring 2015. Four credit hours costs several hundred dollars at most of Missouri’s A+ colleges.

    What Does Four Credit Hours Cost?
    · Crowder College: $508 (source)
    · Ozark Technical College: $614 (source)
    · East Central College: $380 (in-district students) or $520(out-of-district students) (source)

    How A+ Program Cuts Will Affect Students
    Cuts to the A+ Program will affect students differently. Cassville High School’s A+ Program Sponsor Tyne Rabourn worries about whether her A+ students will be able to finish their higher education with the help the program offers.

    “We have a few students that might have to stop going to school,” Rabourn told the Cassville Democrat. She expressed her concern that some of Cassville’s students “couldn’t possibly borrow the money” to cover community college courses. (source)

    East Central College President Dr. Jon Bauer also expressed concerns about students having to resort to loans if A+ funds are cut:

    “We will continue working with students to make sure they’re aware of other options they may have, whether it’s scholarship funds that might still be available, payment plan options we have and options regarding student loans—though that would be the least attractive as we don’t’ want students to borrow more than they absolutely have to.” (source)

    On the other hand, Austen Lockhart, a representative from Ozarks Technical College is less worried about how A+ cuts will affect students. Lockhard told the University of Missouri’s The Maneater that A+ is a cushion for most students:

    “(The A+ Scholarship Program) basically acts as a cushion for a lot of students. If you can make the requirements in high school and get accepted, it is something that puts students at ease. However, I have not received complaints of funding cuts affecting anyone too majorly. For most people A+ is just that cushion, it’s not everything,” (source)

    It’s too soon to tell exactly what will happen with Missouri’s A+ Program funding, but 15,000 Missouri high school, college, and vocation students—and their parents—are anxious to find out.

    To stay up-to-date on legislative and funding issues affecting Missouri’s public schools, and to learn more about college and career readiness for Missouri high school students, come back often to the Missouri Parent Blog or follow Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter.



  • The Missouri Lottery: False Advertising?

    The Missouri Lottery, which exists in large part to fund public schools, is under public scrutiny.

     

    The Lottery saw a 1.5 percent increase in gross revenue last year, while its contributions to public education were down 7.4. This hasn’t stopped the Lottery from spending advertising dollars telling the public about its contributions to public education. (source)

    Over the last ten years (FY04-FY13), the Missouri Lottery has ranked as one of the best in the country for overall lottery payout percentages, and for payout percentages for its instant games and draw games.

    In fact, prize payouts increased by 5.4 percent over that ten-year span, and in 2014 Missouri’s payouts were 66 percent of its revenues (compared to a 60 percent national average). (source)

    Concerned with these trends, Governor Nixon required in July that the Office of Administration (OA) conduct a comprehensive review of “the Missouri Lottery’s ability to carry out its voter-approved mandate to provide a stable funding source for public schools”.

    In September, the OA, Division of Budget and Planning published its report. The “Review of Missouri Lottery Operations” provided a “comprehensive review”, exploring finance lottery trends using data from all 44 states that have lotteries, and going back ten years.

    The report covered prize payouts, retailers & contractors, advertising & promotions, and administrative costs.

    The Lottery’s advertising expenditures raised eyebrows not just because its spending is so high, but because it has doubled since 20008 and increased six-fold since 2014.

    According to the report,

    “The recent increase in the advertising budget was driven by input from MO Lottery that such an increase would result in higher funding for education. Based on actual transfers to education, it is unclear if this was actually the case.” (source)

    Advertising isn’t the only aspect of the Missouri Lottery that has come under scrutiny; it’s leadership has, as well. In September, Governor Nixon removed the four existing Lottery Commissioners, replacing them and adding a fifth. Four of the five new commissioners are prominent educators.

    Nixon and the new commissioners approved a continued $16 million advertising budget for the Lottery for FY 2016, but added a caveat: that they are to do a “thorough review of the efficacy of the advertising” before the Lottery exceeds $12 million in advertising spending. (source)

    As the new lottery commissioners settle into their roles, the OA report, the Governor’s opinions, and the new commissioners’ respective backgrounds in public education will influence Lottery spending and accountability. The commission plans to hold the Lottery responsible for its mandate to support schools, but only time—and dollars—will tell how the Lottery will influence education in the future.

    Missouri Parent will continue to share information with you on how the Missouri Lottery Commission and its public mandate to support public schools is affected by the recent OA report. You can read the full Lottery report here.

    Follow Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates on funding issues and policies that affect Missouri public schools.



     

  • Satire (and the Sad Truth) About Education Funding with The Onion

     

    The Onion is arguably the funniest satire site on the web, taking stabs at all aspects of culture and current events, from politics to sports to technology. As its sardonic articles, videos, and infographics make the rounds on social media, one of its posts occasionally touches on a subject dear to the heart of Missouri Parent: public schools.

    On September 12th, The Onion published a story called “Tips For Fixing The Nation’s Education System”. The post offered a dozen or so suggestions for “fixing” education in America.

    Some of the suggestions were funny:

    “Discourage teacher turnover by downplaying the importance of having money and respect.”

    Others were absurd:

    “Tattoo grades on foreheads to shame low performers.”

    But one of The Onion’s satirical recommendations hit especially close to home:

    “Whatever you do, don’t change anything about a property-tax-based funding system in which rich schools get richer while poor schools get poorer. That’s working just fine.”

    Missouri Parent strongly advocates for full funding for the Missouri Foundation Formula precisely for the reason The Onion articulated: our state’s poorest students shouldn’t be punished with a lower-quality public education than their wealthier peers receive.

    Learn more about the Missouri Foundation Formula

    The Foundation Formula was passed into law in 2005 to create a level playing field for elementary and secondary education students in Missouri, no matter how rich or poor their local communities are.

    When a community is able to generate substantial revenue from local property taxes, its schools need less support from the state of Missouri. When communities aren’t able to generate as much local tax funding for schools, the Foundation Formula helps those schools to provide an “adequate” level of per-pupil funding.

    The goal is to make sure that students statewide—regardless of how wealthy their communities are—receive a fair shot at a good education. The problem is that the Foundation Formula has never been fully funded.

    “Whatever you do, don’t change anything about a property-tax based-funding system…”

    If the Missouri Foundation Formula was working ideally, property-tax-based funding for local schools would be fine. Unfortunately, though, the Foundation Formula has been extremely underfunded from its beginnings.

    The result: students who live in areas that have traditionally been less able to generate local property tax revenues (specifically our most urban and most rural students) continue to receive a less adequate education than students in districts with more local funding.

    Full funding for the Missouri Foundation Formula is one of Missouri Parent’s core advocacy objectives and, while this article may contain humor, is a topic we are very serious about. To learn more about the Foundation Formula, and about how its underfunding continues to discriminate against rural and urban K-12 students in Missouri, follow Missouri Parent on Facebook and Twitter and bookmark the blog.


  • Four Prominent Educators Appointed to the Missouri Lottery Commission

          

     

    Missouri Governor Jay Nixon recently made two important decisions about the Missouri Lottery that could affect funding for Missouri public schools.

    First, the governor required the Office of Administration (OA) to review the State Lottery Commission. Second, he replaced four Missouri Lottery commissioners and added a fifth. Of the five new commissioners, four have strong backgrounds in public education.

    In July, Gov. Nixon ordered the OA’s comprehensive report of the Lottery’s earnings and expenditures with a careful eye on its voter-approved mandate to support schools. The report showed that the last three years (FY 2012 – FY 2014) have been the highest-earning years in the Missouri Lottery’s history, but that profit for education was down 7.4 percent.

    Gov. Nixon is concerned. “The goal is not how many lottery tickets you can sell,” he told the St. Louis Post Dispatch in a phone interview. “The goal is how much money you can get to the classrooms of our state.”

    In September, the governor announced the removal of the four lottery commissioners mentioned already, including the Commission’s chairman (and Gov. Nixon’s former law partner) Kevin Roberts, saying that it was time for a “fresh look” at the State Lottery Commission.

    That “fresh look” will come from a retired public utilities administrator and four prominent educators. The four educators who have been appointed to the Missouri Lottery Commission are Dr. Terry R. Adams, Judene Blackburn, Dr. Phyllis A. Chase, and Paul Kincaid. The retired utilities administrator is John Twitty.

    Adams, of Lake St. Louis, is a retired school superintendent in several Missouri school districts since 1987: Rockwood, Wentzville, Rolla, Central (Park Hills, MO), and Arcadia Valley. He was named Missouri Superintendent of the Year in 2012. (source)

    Blackburn, of Waynesville, was superintendent of the Waynesville R-VI School District from 2006 through 2014 and was superintendent of the Halfway R-III School District before that. She has worked as an elementary and middle school principal, and was appointed as a commissioner for the State Council for Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunities for Military Children in 2011—a council on which she has served since 2008. (source)

    Chase, of Kansas City, has worked in public education since 1971. She is a former superintendent of Columbia Public Schools, was the chief of staff of Springfield Schools, and acted as superintendent of the Kansas City School District as well. She currently works as the director of the Charter School Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. (source)

    Kincaid, of Springfield, is retiring after 28 years as an administrator at Missouri State University, where he was most recently the chief of staff and assistant to the president for university relations. He has been active on the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. (source)

    Twitter, a retired utilities administrator from Springfield, serves on the Board of Trustees of Drury University. (source)

    The governor stated on his website on September 18th that the appointments have the business and education experience necessary to ensure that the lottery provides maximum benefit to Missouri’s public schools:

    “The four Missourians I am appointing to the Commission today have extensive experience in business and education, and are uniquely qualified to provide strong leadership to ensure the state lottery provides the greatest possible benefit to our public schools.” (source) (Note: Ms. Blackburn was appointed after the Governor’s statement, which is why the statement refers to four—not five—appointees.)

    The five appointees represent several regions of the state, as well as the Republican, Democrat, and Independent parties (two are Democrat, two are Independent, and one is Republican). All five appointments are subject to confirmation by the Missouri Senate.

    Missouri Parent will continue to share information on how the Missouri Lottery Commission and its public mandate to support public schools is affected by the recent OA report and the Commission’s new appointees.

    For more information on how state policies affect your child’s academic success, come back to the Missouri Parent blog often, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


  • Education Funding Released After Veto Session’s Close

     

     

    Governor Nixon’s “Friday Favors” tax break bill vetoes were brought to lawmakers during the September 10th veto session in Jefferson City. The Governor’s tax break-specific vetoes were sustained, and he announced on Thursday that $143.6 million would be released back into the General Revenue.

    TWEET THIS ARTICLE

    Learn more about the Governor’s precautionary adjustment of the General Revenue in this post.

    Governor Nixon applauded the General Assembly for its decision to sustain his veto of those special interest tax break bills:

    “Presented with a clear choice between supporting local schools and siding with special interests, the General Assembly yesterday stood with us and made the right decision to invest in the best economic development tool there is: public education,” he said. (source)

    Taken individually, the Friday Favors arguably offered reasonable incentives to businesses. When viewed collectively, however, the bills had the potential to reduce the Missouri General Revenue by an estimated $425 million. Funding for Missouri’s K-12 and higher education institutions makes up 45% of the General Revenue, so the $425 reduction in revenues would have significantly impacted Missouri students.

    One of the most-discussed bills in the veto session was Senate Bill 584—a bill that gave tax exemptions that many lawmakers argued were overly vague—to data centers. SB 584 would have cost the state revenues, but it would also have cost local municipalities. Greene County, for instance, would have lost around $5.3 million as a result of provisions in SB 584.

    By sustaining vetoes of SB 584 and other special interest tax break bills, Missouri legislators have chosen to support to schools and students all over the state. The $143.6 million that has been released back into the General Revenue will go to local school districts and higher education institutions, benefiting nearly a million students, statewide.

    Governor Nixon called the release of those General Revenue funds for education a bi-partisan effort:

    “The resources I’m announcing today are possible because legislators of both parties came together and agree that it’s time to invest in our schools.” (source)

    Of the $143.6 million in released funding, $100.2 million supports the Missouri Foundation Formula, while more than $43.3 million is dedicated to performance funding for Missouri higher education.

    Come back to the Missouri Parent Blog, follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook to learn more about how policy makers and policies impact your child’s education in the state.



     

  • Veto Session Begins Tomorrow: Contact Your Legislator Today!

    Tomorrow, September 10, 2014, legislators will meet in Jefferson City for a very important veto session. If you’re concerned about our state’s school funding, please contact your representative today, encouraging him or her not to override the Governor’s vetoes of the Friday Favor bills*.

    Share This Call to Action with Your Followers on Twitter!

    #FridayFavors Cost Millions TWEET THIS
    If the Governor’s vetoes are overridden, #FridayFavors will cost the state an estimated $425 million in tax revenues, with another hit of more than $300 million to local tax revenues statewide. If Missouri loses those tax revenues, our students lose, too.

    Lost Taxes Mean Students Lose, Too TWEET THIS
    If the Governor’s vetoes of the Friday Favors are overridden, the Missouri General Revenue will be shorted by approximately $425 million. 45% of the General Revenue goes directly to K-12 education (35%) and higher education (10%) in the state. That’s a cut of $119 million from Missouri’s students.

    The #FridayFavors Impact Individual Students TWEET THIS
    The Governor’s office estimates that the Friday Favors will have an impact of $105 per student across the state when the Missouri Foundation Formula is already underfunded by $500 per student. Additional funding cuts will force our schools to cut more positions, further limit their technology budgets, and make other cuts to student education.

    If education is important to you and your family, please contact your representative immediately to encourage him or her to support Governor Nixon’s #FridayFavors vetoes.

    *On the final Friday of the 2014 legislative session, the Missouri General Assembly pushed through a collection of tax break bills that will benefit big businesses while pulling money away from Missouri public schools. These bills, which Governor Jay Nixon calls “Friday Favors”, will have a big impact on Missouri’s K-12 and higher education students.



     

  • Missouri Schools Should Be Prioritized Above Tax Cuts

     

     

    Governor Jay Nixon vetoed 33 bills during the 2014 legislative session. Ten of those bills, which his administration calls “#FridayFavors”, were vetoes of tax break bills that could reduce state and local tax revenues by more than $776 million annually, $425 million of that at the state level.



    These tax breaks are good for corporations and bad for schools. TWEET THIS

    Businesses would save $425 million in tax deals, while schools, which rely heavily upon Missouri General Revenue, would see a reduction of around $119 million in funding. Urban and rural schools, which traditionally see lower levels of local funding, would be among the hardest hit by the Friday Favors. TWEET THIS

    The Kansas City Star calls the tax breaks unwise, explaining their risk to schools:

    “It would be unwise to slash into revenues so deeply that it threatened funding for public schools, universities and services for six million residents.”

    The Star is not alone in its concern about tax breaks that would reduce state-level funding for education. Missouri Budget Director Linda Luebbering told KOMU News:

    “This is very significant from the standpoint that you have to reduce services and programs in order to make up for that loss. The biggest single beneficiary of state general revenue is K-12 education.”

    Legislators will reconvene on September 10th in veto session for a chance to override Gov. Nixon’s vetoes. If you’re concerned about funding for Missouri’s schools, reach out to your representative immediately. Let him or her know that your child’s education should be a higher priority than saving a fast food chain or other large corporation a few dollars in state taxes.

     

     

    photo credit: nicolasnova via photopin cc

  • Missouri Governor Vetoes Tax Breaks – How Will #MOLeg Respond?

      

     

    On the last day of the 2014 legislative session, the General Assembly passed several last-minute tax breaks to benefit several businesses and corporations. Governor Jay Nixon reacted strongly in favor of public education by vetoing those tax breaks, which would directly affect state-level funding for education in Missouri.

    As a precautionary measure (in case his vetoes are overridden), the Governor also adjusted the General Revenue to account for the $425 million decrease in the state’s tax revenues that the proposed tax breaks would create.

    The Governor, who has received tremendous criticism for this decision, was acting within his powers: The state constitution forbids it from operating at a deficit. A $425 million reduction in general revenues requires a $425 reduction in spending to keep the budget balanced—a reduction that directly affects K-12 and higher education students statewide.

    Each year, 45% of Missouri’s General Revenue is spent supporting K-12 and higher education institutions. If the General Revenue is reduced by $425 million, Missouri students will receive a proportionate reduction in support. In short, big business will save $425 million, and schools will receive around $119 million less per year than they already do in state-level educational support.

    Ironically, although it was a Republican-led majority that pushed for these tax breaks, Republicans have launched a high profile and well-publicized attack against Governor Nixon, calling students his “lowest priority”.

    House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka is one of the many Republicans speaking out:

    “This is a governor who tells the public he wants to invest in our young people, but then is all too willing to make school funding his first target and show that public education is his lowest priority…”

    In just a few days, Missouri’s lawmakers will reconvene in the capital to attempt to override Governor Nixon’s vetoes. If that happens, anti-tax advocates will win, and Missouri’s students will lose. If you believe that students should have priority over big business we encourage you to contact your local representative immediately to let him or her know that Governor Nixon’s vetoes should be supported—not overridden.

     

     

    TWEET THIS


  • Do Friday Favors Tax Cuts Really Matter to My 9-Year-Old?

     

     

    On the final Friday of the 2014 legislative session, Missouri lawmakers passed a series of bills offering tax breaks to several corporations and businesses. Governor Nixon vetoed them, calling them favors to big businesses, or “#FridayFavors”. 

    As the days draw nearer for the Missouri Legislature to reconvene for their veto session on September 10th, you will be hear this nickname repeatedly in news, conversation and here on Missouri Parent.

    Why did the governor veto those bills? In part, because Missouri’s General Revenue budget, which funds K-12 schools and institutions of higher education, can’t afford to lose any more income. The “Friday Favors” would mean a projected $776 million decrease in Missouri’s state and local government general revenue. TWEET THIS

    The reason this matters to a child—no matter how old—is that if he or she attends public school in Missouri, he or she is among the group of Missourians who will suffer the most if the Governor’s vetoes are overridden on September 10th: Missouri’s students.

    The tax breaks offered by the General Assembly will directly affect the state’s General Revenue budget—45% of which is dedicated exclusively to spending on our state’s schools.

    Even with the passage of a recent appropriations bill, which increased state education funding by $115 million, the Missouri Foundation Formula (Missouri’s Foundation Formula explained) is still underfunded by more than $500 million.

    Taking another possible $119 million away from Missouri’s schools via tax cuts is not the answer for the next generation of Missourians. If you have a child in school in Missouri, “Friday Favors” could mean that:

    · Student-to-teacher ratios will get worse as teachers and other staff are laid off to save money. TWEET THIS
    · Students with disabilities will have less access to high quality staff, buildings, and supplies. TWEET THIS
    · Young, at-risk students will receive decreased support from the Early Grade Literacy Program. TWEET THIS
    · Students who participate in career or technical education will have access to fewer resources. TWEET THIS
    · Early childhood education programs like Parents as Teachers and the Missouri Preschool Program will receive less funding. TWEET THIS
    · Less college tuition assistance will be available for students through the A+ Program. TWEET THIS
    · Funding for after school programs like tutoring will be reduced. TWEET THIS
    · Less support will be available for schools like those in Joplin that are damaged by extreme weather. TWEET THIS

    Lawmakers might be able to offset the impact these changes will have on their children by paying for privatized extracurricular activities, tutoring, and literacy programs, or by paying for private school altogether. The average Missouri parent, however, doesn’t have those options. That’s why these tax breaks matter so much.

    If your child will be affected by any of the impacts listed above, Missouri Parent strongly urges you to contact your local representative.


     

    Let him or her know that your child matters, and that you want Governor Nixon’s vetoes to be upheld when the General Assembly reconvenes on September 10th for veto session. We also ask you to share this information with your friends and fellow parents across Missouri.

    The legislature may have the raw numbers to override the Governor’s vetoes but the votes will be close. Your call to your local representative and senator may be the one which protects thousands of students in Missouri.


  • School Funding in America’s Top-Performing States


    American public schools were projected to spend $11,180 per student during the 2013-14 academic year (source). Missouri fell below the national average with a projected $9,721 per pupil expenditure (source). Today we’ll talk about whether that spending difference has an impact on achievement in Missouri’s public schools.

    Researchers have articulated loose correlations between school funding and student performance for years. The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) gathers some of the data that researchers use in understanding those correlations.

    The NAEP is the nation’s longest-running comparative testing program, but it does more than test students; it also gathers comparative data on schools, districts, and states.

    The NAEP’s primary tests are administered in — among other content areas and grade levels — 4th and 8th grade reading and math. NAEP tests are administered in all 50 U.S. States, the District of Columbia, and Department of Defense schools. Of those 52 locations only 14 earned higher-than-national-average percentages in all four primary NAEP content areas: 4th grade math, 8th grade math, 4th grade reading and 8th grade reading.



    12 of those 14 states invests significantly more money per pupil in public education than Missouri does. Additionally, the average spending among the 14 highest achieving states was $11,871 per pupil. That’s almost $700 above the national average and more than $2100 — or approximately 22% —more than Missouri’s public school students receive.

    The larger correlation between school funding and student performance may be a loose one, but when the funding for the nation’s top performing states is compared against Missouri’s public education funding, the story becomes clearer: school funding makes a difference in student performance.

    Of the 14 states who performed above the national average in 4th and 8th grade math and reading none has a higher percentage of students on free or reduced lunches than we do in Missouri. In other words, Missouri’s are facing financial challenges at home and at school that make it difficult for them to compete on the national stage.

    School funding has long been debated in Missouri, but nine years after the Missouri Foundation Formula for public schools was passed, the state still fell $620 million dollars short of full funding after the 2014 appropriations process. If we want Missouri’s students be competitive nationally, we must fund our schools at nationally competitive levels.

    To continue to learn about Missouri’s funding for public education and the legislative issues that affect that funding, subscribe to Missouri Parent emails: Just enter your name, email address, and zip code in the form at the top of this page.

    To learn what you can do to ensure that Missouri’s public school students receive the funding necessary for them to be competitive now and in the future, subscribe to the Missouri Parent Blog and follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

    More on Funding for Missouri Public Schools:

  • Projected Impact of the SB 509 Tax Cut on Individual School Districts in Missouri

    Click the image above to learn the projected impact of the SB 509 tax cut on every individual public school district in Missouri.

    Use this link to look up your local legislator and ask them to sustain Governor Nixon's veto

    Contact the legislators who have been strong supporters of public schools and who have voted against previous tax cuts due to their impact on education.

    Sen. David Pearce: david.pearce@senate.mo.gov
    2. Rep. Elaine Gannon: elaine.gannon@house.mo.gov
    3. Rep. Paul Fitzwater: paul.fitzwater@house.mo.gov
    4. Rep. Sue Entlicher: sue.entlicher@house.mo.gov
    5. Rep. Mike Thomson: mike.thomson@house.mo.gov
    6. Rep. Lyle Rowland: lyle.rowland@house.mo.gov
    7. Rep. Craig Redmon: craig.redmon@house.mo.gov
    8. Rep. Don Phillips: don.phillips@house.mo.gov
    9. Rep. Donna Pfautsch: donna.pfautsch@house.mo.gov
    10. Rep. Lynn Morris: lynn.morris@house.mo.gov
    11. Rep. Jeff Messenger: jeff.messenger@house.mo.gov
    12. Rep. Kent Hampton: kent.hampton@house.mo.gov
    13. Rep. Lyndall Fraker: lyndall.fraker@house.mo.gov


  • Senate Bill 509 Doesn’t Add Up: Tax Cuts Detrimental to Missouri’s Schools

    Passage in the Missouri Senate of a bill that would cut taxes by an estimate $620 million is bad news for public education in Missouri, which is already severely underfunded.

    The bill, sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus (R-Lee’s Summit) cuts individual income tax rates and phases in an increased deduction on business income reported on an individual’s tax return. The bill has been passed by the senate and will go to the Missouri House later this week.

    Of course, it would be nice to save a few dollars on individual income taxes, but what would you say if you knew that for every dollar you saved on your taxes, a students’ educational investment was reduced by three times that amount?

    The Missouri Department of Revenue estimates that there are 2.75 million tax-paying residents in the state. Kraus’s $620 million in tax cuts would create a per-person savings of around $225 per year, while the state’s Foundation Formula for education is currently underfunding the average Missouri public school student by $700 per year.

    Is $225 per year in individual savings worth cheating an elementary or secondary school student in Missouri of $700 in school supplies, transportation provisions, and teachers’ salaries? Governor Nixon doesn’t think so:

    "At a time when public education is more important than ever to the strength of our economy, Senate Bill 509 would permanently undermine Missouri's ability to support K-12 and higher education. In fact, with a price tag of more than $620 million annually, Senate Bill 509 is the equivalent of wiping out the investments needed to fully fund our K-12 foundation formula and keep college affordable. Once again, the choice facing members of the General Assembly is clear: they can invest in good schools and create good jobs or they can support reckless fiscal experiments, but they cannot do both." – Gov. Jay Nixon (source)

    If you’re the parent of a Missouri public school student, consider the return on your investment: Does it make sense to possibly save $225, knowing that that same savings would cost your child $700? We urge you to contact your Legislator immediately to ask them to vote against SB509 when it’s raised in the House on Thursday.


  • Spring Break is a Time for Action

    This is the week the Missouri Legislature takes its annual spring break. This usually signifies the halfway mark of the legislative session and allows our elected officials to reconnect with their constituents. Spring break is also a great time for you to discuss important public education issues with your state representatives and senators.

    So far this session there has been lengthy discussion on issues such as education funding, transfers of students from unaccredited school districts and tax cuts which would greatly impact your local schools.

    Missouri Parent has carefully watched and reported on these topics through our website and social media. You have probably read and shared our content with your fellow parents.

    When it comes to education funding, the legislature has chosen to ignore the budget recommendations of Governor Nixon and only commit to an additional $122 million towards the Foundation Formula. This legislative proposal, while appreciated, still leaves the state more than $478 million behind in funding our public schools. Our position: Work to fully fund the Foundation Formula. TWEET THIS

    Regarding student transfers, of the many bills which have been filed and debated, Missouri Parent only fully supports HB 2037 filed by Rep. Jeanie Lauer (R-Blue Springs). Thank Rep. Lauer HERE. This bill creates a proactive system of dealing with struggling school districts, protects the students who are left behind in our few failing districts, brings education professionals in as the problem solvers instead of hired gun bureaucrats and protects the investments made by Missouri’s taxpayers into all of our schools. Our position: Fix broken schools and protect students first. TWEET THIS

    Finally, when it comes to tax cuts, we stand with Governor Nixon and legislators who will only support tax cuts which take effect when the Foundation Formula is fully funded. The Governor vetoed last year’s risky tax cut idea and will probably do the same to any bill which does not protect funding for public schools. Our position: Fully fund public schools before any tax cuts become reality. TWEET THIS

    We ask you to take a moment this week to contact your local legislators and ask them to support public schools at the local and state level. When the legislators come back next week, discussions will run fast and furious to pass all the required legislation by their deadlines in May. Your input may be the voice they need to hear to truly fully fund, protect students, and build the future of our public schools in Missouri. TWEET THIS


  • Public Schools Face Increased Costs of Doing Business


    The Missouri General Assembly is in session, and once again, tax breaks for businesses are on the table. HB 1253, sponsored by Representative T.J. Berry (R-Kearney) — the same representative who sponsored last year’s HB 253 — promise these breaks to businesses across the state.

    As you may remember, HB 253 was vetoed by Governor Nixon and the override attempt by the legislature failed.

    Missouri’s General Revenue provides approximately 84% of public education funding. If HB1253 passes, the state’s General Revenue is expected to fall between $71 million and $347 million per year.

    Businesses in Missouri face increased operating costs in 2014, including:
    · Increased insurance costs
    · Increased transportation costs
    · Increased litigation costs
    · Increased technology expenses

    The same can be said for Missouri’s K-12 public schools.

    Missouri’s public school systems face all of the same increased costs of doing business that businesses do: Insurance, transportation, litigation, and technology costs are all on the rise for Missouri’s schools. HB 1253 and similar pieces of legislation will reduce taxes for business, but it won’t help schools.

    In fact, it could hurt them by reducing the General Revenue.

    In FY2013, Missouri’s Foundation Formula for public schools was already underfunded by $621 million. Our students can’t afford HB 1253’s additional $71 million to $347 million hit on the General Revenue.

    Missouri Parent will continue to keep you informed throughout the legislative session. Be sure to subscribe to email updates and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the most immediate news on legislative and funding issues that affect Missouri public school students.

    What Can You Do? 

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