Source: US State of Missouri
Part of assembling the state budget each year includes allocating a certain amount of money toward educating the children of our state. Every year, approximately 25 to 30 percent of the state’s total operating budget is designated toward elementary and secondary, and higher, education. This is not only the funding for our classrooms, but also money that goes toward school transportation, or the buses that take students to and from school every day.
Since 1993, Missouri has used a particular method for funding education, known as the school foundation formula. This plan, in part, is used to determine the best usage of the dollars available for education, plus to make sure there is a sufficient increase in funding from year to year. It is a system that has served our state well over the past 30 years.
This year, as we continue to move out of a global pandemic, our state has some extra federal funding designed to assist with those things state government generally takes care of. More importantly, this additional financial support is for one-time spending. In most cases, we will use this money to provide infrastructure upgrades, which include projects for schools. We have also been fortunate here in Missouri, because we have maintained low unemployment and have not had to turn to federal help for everything, as some other states have.
To this end, the Legislature budgeted $10.4 billion for elementary and secondary education, which is just shy of a $3 billion increase, and $1.5 billion for higher education, which is approximately an increase of $100 million over last year. We are hopeful this will help all of our school districts throughout Missouri, not only for Fiscal Year 2023, but for years to come.
This is my final budget as both chair of the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee and as a state senator. It takes months to craft and hone a budget, and it takes dozens of great people to make sure the state spends taxpayer money in the most efficient way possible. I am proud of the work we did and look forward to seeing our efforts pay off over the course of the next year in Missouri.
As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.