JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri General Assembly has given its final approval to increases in funding for public schools throughout the state.
The funding increases were passed as part of Missouri’s state operating budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which officially begins on Monday, July 1, 2019.
The budget fully funds the school foundation formula for the third year in a row and provides a $10 million increase for school transportation. For the first time in a decade, the legislature has also increased core funding for four-year colleges and universities.
The funding boosts come as Missouri is seeing a modest year-on-year increase in tax revenue.
Altogether, the 2020 state budget appropriates nearly $6.3 billion for elementary and secondary education and more than $1.3 billion for higher education.
The chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee expressed his satisfaction with the budget totals.
“Some of the highlights is the record amount of funding that we’re putting into public education,” Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, said. “Fully funded the formula now for at least the third year in a row. Put money into school transportation funding. For the first time in many years we’ve actually added to the core of higher education funding, and it’s nice to be able to see us able to do that.”
Sen. Jason Hoslman, D-Kansas City, supports the budget increases for education, but said he was disappointed Missouri residents brought to the country illegally as minors would not be eligible for in-state tuition, a provision lawmakers discussed but which ultimately didn’t make it into the final legislation.
“You know, these kids deserve the best that we can offer, and offering in-state tuition to them is what we have our ability to do,” Holsman said. “And the House rejected that, and that’s unfortunate. And I’m disappointed by that.”
The provision was included in a preliminary version of the state budget as approved by a conference committee of senators and representatives, but was removed by Republicans after debate in the full House of Representatives. Following further discussion between lawmakers, the Senate agreed to pass the House’s version of the budget.
During the summer months, the governor will go through each line item in the state budget as he determines which to sign into law. The legislature will have the opportunity to overrule any of the governor’s vetoes with a two-thirds supermajority vote in each chamber during the annual veto session in September.