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Missouri ranks 49th in the nation in school funding from state resources, a report released Thursday by State Auditor Nicole Galloway found.

The report spanned the 10 years before June 30, 2020, and also found per-student funding has fallen behind inflation.

In 2020, 32 percent of primary and secondary school funding in Missouri came from the state while about 60 percent came from local sources, like property taxes — a ratio that deviates from the national pattern. Around the rest of the country, state sources tend to contribute slightly more than local ones, the report showed.

And from 2013-17, the report shows Missouri failed to meet its per-student funding needs. The determining metric is calculated by the Foundation Formula, a "complex computation" based on factors like attendance and free- and reduced-lunch students, and the State Adequacy Target, which is the average operating cost of the top 25 percent of school districts.

During that time, the state had been relying on lottery funds to cover a gap in appropriations — but that didn't happen, leaving the Foundation Formula underfunded. Then, in 2016, the Legislature modified the formula to limit growth and increases, resulting in a fully funded formula.

Those modifications haven't kept up with inflation, however, meaning per-student funding is still behind pace.

Specific to average daily attendance, Missouri's funding decreased in 2020 while the national average increased. Districts received about $2,000 less than the national average.

In 2018, a different Galloway report found 68 percent of local school districts had increased how much they relied on local funding over the last 10 years.

"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 in a statement. "The opportunity for a 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."

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