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Lawmakers Send Governor New Education Funding Formula

Lawmakers have sent the governor a new education funding formula. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

After only about a half hour of debate, lawmakers voted to change the way the state distributes funding to public schools.

Under the bill, funding would be distributed based on student need rather than property value in a school district.

The changes will begin to take place on July 1st, 2006 and will be phased in over 7 years.

The bill handler is Republican Representative Brian Baker.

The new funding formula won't be fully in place for eight years.

Critics of the new funding plan say its delayed implementation will result in an inequitable distribution of state funds that will impact almost an entire generation of school kids.

Democratic Representative Michael Corcoran served on the committee that helped craft the new funding formula.

But supporters of the bill say schools will enjoy the benefits of the bill as soon as the phase-in begins next year.

Again, the bill handler Republican Representative Brian Baker.

Opponents like Democratic Representative Michael Corcoran say the bill fails to specify where the state will get enough money to fund the new formula.

As it's phased in, it will cost more than 800 million dollars.

Some Republicans and Governor Matt Blunt say funding for the formula will come from economic growth in the coming years.

Even some Republicans who voted for the funding formula bill expressed concerns about funding the formula.

But Springfield Representative Charlie Denison who voted for the bill, isn't so sure.

A handful of Republicans have proposed a tax package on gaming.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Charlie Shields says he'd support limiting the number of casinos and lifting the five hundred dollar loss limit on casinos that want to pay higher taxes.

But there's strong opposition to the gaming proposal in the House.

The handler of the funding formula bill, Republican Representative Brian Baker say he won't support funding education that relies on eliminating the loss limit on casinos.

The funding formula bill is on its way to the governor's desk.

It reflects many of the proposals the governor has said he supports.