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Missouri ranked No. 49 in state K-12 funding in 2020

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri ranked No. 49 in the nation in K-12 school funding from the state last year, according to a new report from Auditor Nicole Galloway.

The study examined funding trends for elementary and secondary education, finding the Foundation Formula had not kept up with inflation rates. According to the report, state funds account for 32 percent of per-student funding on average, requiring schools to rely on local sources — such as property taxes — to account for the rest of their budget.

“The state is not stepping up to meet the needs of students in Missouri, shifting the burden and leaving Missourians paying higher property taxes to support their schools,” Galloway said. “The opportunity for quality education is key to ensuring economic growth. My report details the facts that can spur change at the state level so we no longer rank at the bottom when it comes to supporting schools.”  

The auditor recommended the General Assembly continue to monitor the Foundation Formula to ensure it keeps up with inflation. 

Galloway’s report compiled 10 years’ worth of data, pointing to the period from 2013-2017 as a time when the state failed to meet its per-student funding obligation. Though changes were made to the funding formula to limit increases and cap growth, Galloway said the formula still fell behind in accounting for inflation. The report also determined funding from Missouri’s State Adequacy Target (SAT) mechanism had also fallen behind. 

Missouri has trended far below the rest of the country at similar rates since 2011 per the report, with 2020 seeing districts’ average daily attendance (ADA) funding around $2,000 below the national average.

Galloway has raised the issue of increased tax burdens for school funding at the local level before; in a 2018 report, she determined 68 percent of local school districts had increased their reliance on local funding over the past 10 years. 

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