It is hard to believe, but we have reached the final weeks of the 2019 legislative session. Last week, my fellow senators and I discussed and debated the Senate’s version of the state budget for the 2020 fiscal year. Creating and approving a state budget is the only constitutional requirement of the members of the General Assembly, and our deadline for approving the state budget is Friday, May 10.
One important topic in the state budget for our district is the funding for the K-12 education foundation formula. The foundation formula for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has been fully funded for the 2020 fiscal year. It is used as the basis for distributing funds to school districts in Missouri. The formula is an attempt to take into account several factors of each individual school district, such as the number of students living in a district, the cost of living, available local revenue and the number of students with special needs. It is meant to create a fair way of distributing funds to each of Missouri’s school districts, so it is especially important that it is fully funded for the next school year.
Funding for the University of Missouri system is especially important because the University of Missouri-Columbia is a big part of our community. I am thrilled that the system received $400 million in funding for the 2020 fiscal year. This funding will help enhance the excellent education our students are already receiving, and it gives the UM system the opportunity to expand and offer new programs and opportunities to the students attending the universities that make up the University of Missouri.
Recently, I had the privilege of meeting with students from Christian Chapel Academy in Columbia during their trip to the State Capitol. It is always a pleasure to meet with students, answer their questions about state government and talk about my personal experiences as a legislator. I believe it is so important for students to have the opportunity to meet with their state legislators and discuss their concerns regarding state government.
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I am here to serve you, and my office door is always open to your questions, concerns and suggestions. You can reach my staff at 573-751-3931, and you can visit www.senate.mo.gov/rowden for an array of legislative and constituent resources.