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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Legislation that would dramatically change the way schools are funded in Illinois for the first time since 1997 is advancing in the Illinois Legislature.
 
The legislation is sponsored by Democratic Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill. It would streamline the state's school funding formula by requiring districts to demonstrate need before receiving money.
 
The current method factors in a district's poverty for some types of state aid but not others.
 
Manar says the bill creates equity between districts that have rich property tax bases and poorer districts.
 
But Republican critics say they want more details before signing on to the proposal.
 
A subcommittee in the state Senate passed the measure on Tuesday. The legislation faces another vote by a Senate committee before it heads to the full chamber.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri senators are going forward with a two-prong funding plan for public schools that bases their state aid on the strength of the economy.
 
A Senate panel agreed Monday to the basic approach of the House school funding plan but tweaked its specific dollar amounts.
 
The House plan would add $122 million to Missouri's $3.1 billion in basic aid for school districts. But it would authorize an increase of up to $278 million if revenues meet Gov. Jay Nixon's more optimistic projections.
 
The Senate Appropriations Committee decided to provide a minimum $115 million increase, leaving a larger portion of the potential $278 million increase dependent upon improved revenue collections.
 
Senators typically change the House budget plan. Negotiators from the two chambers must work out their differences by early May.
 
Published in Local News

   Property taxes will remain the same for homeowners in the Ferguson-Florissant School District after voters rejected the district's first tax hike request in 21 years.  

   Only 42 percent of voters in Tuesday's election approved the measure that would have raised taxes by 75 cents for each $100 of assessed valuation.  The tax hike would have raised about $6 million for district schools. 

   The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the district is facing a projected $4.6 million shortfall for the coming school year, despite cutting before- and after-school programs and freezing teacher pay.

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri public schools and universities will be getting a funding increase under an agreement by legislative budget negotiators.

A group of House and Senate members decided Tuesday to provide a $25 million funding increase to public colleges and universities based on whether they have met performance criteria such as student graduation rates. That's less than the $34 million increase sought by Gov. Jay Nixon but more than the House had approved earlier this year.

The budget also includes $10 million for the University of Missouri medical school to expand a residency program at the Cox Health system in Springfield.

Public school districts would get a $66 million increase to their $3 billion of core funding - the same amount Nixon recommended.

Published in Local News

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