Saturday, November 04, 2006

St. Charles School Board President Explains Funding of Public Schools

St. Charles School Board President Explains Funding of Public Schools

I have recently been hearing and seeing some misunderstanding regarding funding of public schools. I would like to attempt to explain the confusing issue of funding of public schools and the St. Charles School District by the State of Missouri.

First, it is not a Democrat versus Republican or vise versus issue. It is basically a rural and urban versus suburban issue. While State funding is a State Legislature issue, our local legislators are outnumbered by rural legislators and have minimal influence on school funding by the State. Between the State School Funding Formula and the courts, State funding is geared to channel more money to rural and urban schools than suburban schools. Thus, the St. Charles School District receives less money per student from the State than many other school districts in the State.

Second, property assessment is not the same throughout the State. Those communities that undervalue property receive more State school funding per student for their school districts. St. Charles County is not one of those communities.

Third, the revenue the State receives from the casinos is not added to the Formula. It simply goes to the general revenue fund, and the general revenue fund is used to fund the State School Formula. And the State does not always fund the Formula at a 100% level.

Fourth, continuously there are unfunded mandates imposed on school districts by the State and Federal Governments which dilutes the funds school districts receive from all sources, including the local tax dollars paid by residents. All this results in placing a bigger burden on local tax payers of suburban school districts like St. Charles. I hope this is of some assistance in understanding school funding in Missouri.

Dennis J. Hahn
Board of Education
Member & President
St. Charles School District