Missouri Senate divided over school funding changes

A proposal to change the way Missouri distributes money to public schools is causing division in the state Senate.

The problem stems partly from Missouri’s recent financial troubles. The school funding formula passed in 2005 did not address what should happen if revenues drop and the state is unable to provide the full amount called for under the formula.

Senate Education Committee Chairman David Pearce, of Warrensburg, wants to change the formula so that all districts share in the financial pain — including about 160 districts that are supposed to be “held harmless” from funding reductions under the 2005 law.

Sens. Eric Schmitt and John Lamping, of suburban St. Louis, blocked Pearce’s bill during debate Monday. They want a broader revision to the funding formula.

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