There certainly is a lot of money in education
This week Governor Nixon announced his goal to fully fund the foundation formula in Missouri. For those reading this blog outside Missouri, the foundation formula was established in 2005 to handle the distribution of state funds to school districts. It is a per pupil expenditure that uses various metrics to try to direct more money to struggling districts. It is a complex and controversial formula that has been approved by our court system. The biggest problem with it is that it essentially starts with an amount to give students and then attempts to divy up the pot. For that reason our foundation formula has been “underfunded” for years, to the tune of about $600 million. To be clear, we don’t shortchange our students. Constitutionally we are obligated to spend at least 25% of the state budget on education. Last year we spent 39%.
Some may disagree that we don’t shortchange our students, that we need to spend more on education. Perhaps the better goal would be to spend more wisely on education. Are we making the best investments in the right places in education? I’m not sure.
This week the Kansas City MO school district approved a new 5 year contract for Superintendent Dr. Stephen Green. The district lost accreditation in 2012 and was not granted accreditation again this year despite some gains in student test scores under Green’s leadership. They have until 2014 to meet state requirements for accreditation or risk being taken over by the state. Given the continued low performance of St. Louis schools which were taken over by the state, that does not seem like a solution to help Kansas City. Local officials, however, seem convinced that stability at the top is what is needed most in KCSD and they are, apparently, willing to pay handsomely for that stability.
- ALL benefits from KCPS Employee Retirement Plan (which include sick leave, insurance, etc. — Estimated at 35-40% of salary)