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Public education in Missouri

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K-12 Education in Missouri
State Superintendent: Chris Nicastro
Number of students: 916,584[1]
Number of teachers: 66,252
Teacher/pupil ratio: 1:13.8
Number of school districts: 572
Number of schools: 2,408
Graduation rate: 86%[2]
Per-pupil spending: $9,410[3]
See also
Public education in Missouri
Missouri Department of Education
Missouri school districts
List of school districts in Missouri
The Missouri public school system (prekindergarten-grade 12) operates within districts governed by locally elected school boards members and superintendents. Missouri has 212 school districts.

The Missouri state constitution requires that there be "a general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the general assembly shall establish and maintain free public schools for the gratuitous instruction of all persons in this state within ages not in excess of twenty-one years as prescribed by law."[4]

School revenues, expenditures and budget

See also: Missouri state budget
Missouri's education costs are 42% of the state budget

The fiscal year 2011 state budget is estimated at $7.22 billion, of that K-12 education is estimated to equal $3.022 billion or 41.86% of the total budget.[5] The state of Missouri may be facing a $800 million shortfall by 2012, according to officials. Since the adoption of the FY 2010 budget more than $700 million has been cut from the total budget - $23.7 billion budget. However, even more cuts are anticipated for the future, as a result of no future federal stabilization funds.[6] As of October 2009 approximately 2,300 full-time and part-time state positions were cut. Gov. Nixon decided against furloughs because the cost savings were not as great as eliminating positions.[7]

FY 2010 net General Revenue was estimated to be $7.8 billion of which 66% is from individual income taxes and 24% from sales & use taxes. 33.9% of General Revenue appropriations are for K-12 education, 28.7% for human services, 13.8% for the "other" category, 12.3% for higher education, 8% for corrections and public safety, and 3.3% for elected officials, judiciary, and General Assembly. FY 2008 total budget was $20.6 billion and FY 2009 was $22.6 billion.[8]

The cost per pupil is $9,216, ranking 32nd in the nation according the Census Bureau 2007-2008 report.[9]

In 2010, the state voted in 21 new school bonds and 9 new taxes to help fund public schools.

It was also revealed that the 2007 Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative, a $350 million capital improvement fund, was direct by the General Assembly. An audit revealed that the higher education institutions benefiting from the program actually had little control over how it was spent.[10]

Personnel salaries

According to the Missouri State Teachers Association the average teacher salary in Missouri grew 1.4% in 2004, the lowest rate of growth since the 1973-1974 school year. Salaries nationally grew 2%. In 2005 the minimum average salary for a teacher with a bachelor's degree was $26,629 and the minimum average master's salary was $26,629.[11]

Recent salary schedules and reports were not available on the state department of education's website.

Role of unions

The main unions related to the Missouri school system are the Missouri National Education Association, an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA), and the Missouri Federation of Teachers, an affiliate of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). For the 2003 tax period the Missouri National Education Association had: $7.52 million in total revenue, $7.47 million in total expenses and $3.13 million in total assets.[12] The Missouri Federation of Teachers had: $373,550 in total revenue, $370,769 in total expenses and $82,638 in total assets.[13]

List of local Missouri school unions:[14]

Role of school boards

The State Board of Education is comprised of eight members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. According to the Missouri State Department of Education each member serves staggered, eight-year terms. The Missouri Constitution imposes the responsibility of the instruction of public schools upon the state board of education. Specifically, no more than four board members may belong to the same political party, no more than one member may reside in the same county or congressional district.[15]

The board of education is responsible for: appointing the commissioner of education; setting policies for elementary and secondary education; defining academic performance standards; accrediting local school districts; establishing testing and assessment requirements; establishing regulations for school safety and for fiscal management.[15]

Travel expenses

An audit covering a three year period for the Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri Board of Trustees reported excessive spending on travel. Missouri auditor Susan Montee said improvements are needed, and that there were instances where there was insufficient documentation of credit card charges. The total cost for travel expenses in the three year period was $1.2 million.[16]

Taxpayer-funded lobbying

See also: Missouri government sector lobbying

The main education government sector lobbying organization is the Missouri School Boards Association.

Transparency reform

The Missouri Accountability Portal is the name of the publicly available website created by the Missouri government. It discloses information about the Missouri government's spending, and includes data on state employee salaries, agency expenditures, and tax credit information. The Missouri Accountability Portal was created at the Executive Order of Governor Matt Blunt in July 2007.

=Higher education

A recent audit of Missouri University revealed was unable to produce basic financial reports and failed to report approximately $190,000 in revenues for the child development centers and incorrectly reported $966,000 for life auxiliary service assets.[17]

Academic performance

According to the Missouri Department of Education, in 2009 the state did not meet AYP requirements in communication arts, mathematics and graduation rates. The state did however meet AYP requirements in attendance. AYP is used by the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) program to determine the academic performance of schools.[18]

Year Communication Arts Status Mathematics Status Attendance Rate Graduation Rate
2003 Not Met Not Met - -
2004 Not Met Not Met - -
2005 Not Met Not Met - -
2006 Not Met Not Met Met Met
2007 Not Met Not Met Met Met
2008 Not Met Not Met Met Met
2009 Not Met Not Met Met Not Met

State Budget Solutions’ Education Study: “Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working”

State Budget Solutions’ examined national trends in education from 2009-2011, including state-by-state analysis of education spending, graduation rates, and average ACT scores. The study shows that states that spend the most do not have the highest average ACT test scores, nor do they have the highest average graduation rates. A summary of the study is available here. Download the full report here: Throwing Money At Education Isn’t Working.

See National Chart to compare data from all 50 states.

State Spending on Education vs. Academic Performance 2012

State 2011 Total Spending[19] 2011 Education Spending[20] 2011 Percent Education Spending 2012 Total Spending[21] 2012 Education Spending[22] 2012 Percent Education Spending 2010 Avg. ACT score[23] 2011 Avg. ACT score[24] 2012 Avg. ACT score[25] 2010 Graduation Rate[26] 2011 Graduation Rate[27]
Missouri $48.5 billion $14.2 billion 29.2% $47.6 billion $14.4 billion 30.2% 21.6 21.6 21.6 81.9% 82.4%

School choice

School choice options include:

  • Charter schools: In the 2007-2008 school year approximately 13,200 children attended charter schools. The state had approximately 42 charter schools during that time period.[28] According to the Department of Education, any student residing in the Kansas City 33 School District or the St. Louis Public School District has the option to attend a charter school within the city they currently reside. In the 2009-2010 school there were approximately 20 charter schools operating in the Kansas City school district and 13 in the St. Louis city school district.[29]
  • Public school open enrollment: the state of Ohio has four open enrollment policies: intra-district (within the St. Louis area and throughout the state) and inter-district (both mandatory and voluntary). In other words, students are permitted to enroll in any school in any alternative district in the state or in any alternative school within a district.[30]
  • Online learning: Missouri Virtual Instruction Program is a statewide K-12 program that offers courses 24 hours a day via the internet. The Missouri Department of Education and the Missouri State Board of Education oversees the operations of the programs activities.[31]

External links


  1. National Center for Education Statistics, "Table 2. Number of operating public schools and districts, state enrollment, teacher and pupil/teacher ratio by state: School year 2011–12," accessed March 18, 2014
  2. ED Data Express, "State Tables Report," accessed March 17, 2014 The site includes this disclaimer: "States converted to an adjusted cohort graduation rate [starting in the 2010-2011 school year], which may or may not be the same as the calculation they used in prior years. Due to the potential differences, caution should be used when comparing graduation rates across states."
  3. United States Census Bureau, "Public Education Finances: 2011," accessed March 18, 2014
  4. Missouri Constitution,"Article IX Education, Section 1(a)," accessed April 11, 2010
  5. Missouri Office of Administration,"FY 2011 budget summary," accessed April 11, 2010
  6. The Columbia Daily Tribune,"Outlook for state budget continues decline," February 26, 2010
  7. Associated Press, "700 jobs cut from Missouri payroll: Nixon slashes $204 million from state budget," October 29, 2009
  8. Missouri Division of Budget and Planning, "The Missouri Budget FY 2010," retrieved October 29, 2009
  9. Maine Watchdog, Education Spending Per Child, July 6, 2010
  10. Missouri Watchdog, Audits find coordination lacking on higher education spending, July 28, 2010
  11. Missouri State Teachers Association,"Analysis shows weak growth in teacher salaries," February 8, 2005
  12. Center for Union Facts,"Missouri National Education Association," accessed April 11, 2010
  13. Center for Union Facts,"Missouri Federation of Teachers," accessed April 11, 2010
  14. Center for Union Facts,"Missouri teachers unions," accessed April 11, 2010
  15. 15.0 15.1 Missouri Department of Education,"Facts About the Missouri State Board of Education," accessed April 11, 2010
  16. Missouri Watchdog, Travel expenses for pension board ‘appeared excessive,’ audit finds, June 30, 2010
  17. Watchdog, Audit reveals problems at Missouri State University, Oct. 20, 2010
  18. Missouri Department of Education,"Missouri AYP reports 2003-2009," accessed April 11, 2010
  19. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  20. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  21. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Total Spending" Aug. 4, 2012
  22. "Alabama Government Spending Chart - Education Spending"Aug. 4, 2012
  23. 2010 ACT National and State Scores "Average Scores by State"
  24. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  25. [ 2011 ACT National and State Scores " Average Scores by State"]
  26. National Center for Education Statistics
  27. National Center for Education Statistics
  28. Heritage Foundation,"School Choice in Missouri," cached page March 26, 2010
  29. Missouri Department of Education,"About Charter Schools," accessed April 11, 2010
  30. Education Commission of the States,"Open Enrollment: 50-State Report," accessed April 11, 2010
  31. Missouri Virtual Instruction Program,"About," accessed April 11, 2010