The bill is pitting rural and suburban senators against each other. David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) chairs the Senate Education Committee and represents part of rural west central Missouri. He sponsors the bill that would more evenly spread K-12 funding by siphoning it off from richer suburban districts, primarily those near St. Louis.
In a voice vote Wednesday, the Senate backed a measure that would allow charter schools to be set up in districts that have been declared unaccredited. It would also allow charter schools in some districts that would have been provisionally accredited for three straight years, starting with next school year.
The Missouri House has passed all 13 bills that make up the state’s $24 billion budget for FY 2013.
The process took longer than expected, because of the large number of Democrats who took issue with cutting funding to blind pensions and for not spending enough on K-12 schools. Sara Lampe (D, Springfield) urged fellow lawmakers to look for other ways to balance the budget besides cutting services.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) has released an additional $5 million withheld from this year’s K-12 and Higher Education budgets.
The Nixon Administration says $3 million of the withheld funding will help keep school buses on the road, while just over $2 million will go toward universities and community colleges. Budget Director Linda Luebbering says the move was made because state lottery sales have been better than expected.