[Nameplate] Overcast ~ 57°F  
High: 71°F ~ Low: 52°F
Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

School funding formula examined

Thursday, June 16, 2005

SIKESTON -- Members of the Sikeston R-6 Board of Education quickly learned it may be a cruel summer this year, especially when it comes to the school funding formula recently passed by the Legislature.

During the board's regular meeting Wednesday, Sikeston R-6 Superintendent Steve Borgsmiller and business manager Lori Boardman briefed the board on a meeting they attended Tuesday in Jefferson County. The meeting, sponsored by the Missouri Association of School Administrators, was about understanding the foundation formula, which offers a plan that changes the way the state distributes money to public schools.

Among details the school officials received at the conference was specific information to run the district's own funding simulation for the 2006-2007 school year based on actual data rather than estimated Senate committee simulations, Borgsmiller said.

However, Boardman has not yet calculated what Sikeston is expected to receive. Preliminary Senate committee numbers for the 2006-2007 school year estimate the district will get between $500,000 and $700,000 of new money. This amount is a proration of the existing formula and the new formula, which will be phased in over seven years.

"There are some things that are happening very quickly," Borgsmiller told the board.

Summer school is one of those things, he said.

"This is the last year for double funding for summer school, and this year's summer school will set the base for average daily attendance (of summer school) for the next seven years," Borgsmiller said.

And if districts don't maintain 85 percent of the average attendance, they will receive a reduction in the amount of money they're going to get for the school year, Borgsmiller said.

"So this summer becomes extremely crucial in establishing that base because we're going to be operating on that starting the '06-'07 school year. It sets up a very high standard which I know we can adjust to," Borgsmiller said optimistically.

Borgsmiller pointed out one of the district's benefits is that years ago it moved to an invitation-only summer school. This should help out because the district is working with a finite number of children that have a greater assurance of coming to school, he said.

Dr. Stephanie Reddick, assistant superintendent of curriculum, noted during the meeting enrollment for the opening day of summer school this year was 1,206.

Another issue that came to the forefront at Tuesday's foundation formula meeting is the fact the legislation assumes all districts have a property tax levy of $3.43, and districts below that levy will lose money.

Also under the new formula, the state guarantees every district will receive $6,117 per student and that amount will be adjusted every two years.

"Our operating levy is $3.25 so we will get a percentage of the $6,117 because our levy is less than $3.43," Borgsmiller said. "As the board knows, there are not a lot of school districts (in the area) that have an operating levy of $3.43 or above."

The new formula is still a work in progress for both state and district officials, Borgsmiller said, adding there will still be another legislative session before it goes into full action July 1, 2006.

"There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle, and as time goes by, we'll learn more," Borgsmiller said.

Boardman also discussed the budget for the 2005-2006 school year.

"We're doing our best to get everything paid and out of here by next Wednesday when we have our meeting to approve the budget," Boardman said. "We should have a pretty final end-of-the- year number for you, hopefully next Tuesday when we find out what our revenue is for June."

A budget hearing is planned for August with an exact date to be established later.

In other business Wednesday, the board awarded Holcomb Foundation Engineering Co. of Carbondale, Ill., with the bid for soil boring and geotechnical reporting for the district's math and science center. Fees should not exceed $2,658, Borgsmiller noted.