R-2 remains uncertain if $600,000 will be restored to fiscal budget

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 2/13/21

District’s Jan. 18 board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Chuck Garner noted that funds withheld from the district in the spring of 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, had not yet been …

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R-2 remains uncertain if $600,000 will be restored to fiscal budget

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District’s Jan. 18 board meeting, Superintendent Dr. Chuck Garner noted that funds withheld from the district in the spring of 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, had not yet been restored.

“Withholds from the district of $600,000 have not been restored yet,” Garner said, noting he hoped something would come out of Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s State of the State Address. “We are pleased with the revenue that has come in, but they have yet to backfill the Foundation Formula.”

The governor withheld $448.8 million from the state’s education budget last year, of which $123.3 million was withheld from K-12 education. Gasconade R-2 took a personal hit of $600,000.

Parson on Jan. 27 said during the State of the State Address that he is proposing to fully fund the Foundation Formula in 2021.

“In addition to early childhood education, we will continue to invest in K-12 education,” Parson said. “It goes without saying that this past year has been especially hard on students, parents, teachers and administrators.”

Challenges, the governor says, have been social, emotional and financial.

However, Garner said that the address brings up more questions than answers.

“The money withheld last year in June I think is lost, I don’t think we will ever see that from the state,” Garner said, referring to the $300,000 withheld from the 2019-20 fiscal budget. “The $300,000 withheld in July for the 2020-21 fiscal year, by saying fully funded, should mean the funding will be restored.”

However, this is the 2021 State of the State Address, so Garner questions if the governor is talking about fully funding the 2020-21 Foundation Formula or the 2021-22 Foundation Formula.

“We haven’t heard any word from the state if that ($300,000 withheld in July 2020) will be restored,” Garner said. “I hope that we get it restored, at least the July 2020 withhold, but there is no indication from the state that will be the case. We won’t know until May or June.”

Garner also noted the state legislature has fully funded the Foundation Formula for the past couple of years, but each time the governor has withheld funds. That makes it difficult for the district to create their budget for the 2021-22 school year.

“It is always a concern, but how the economy is coming out of the pandemic makes a little more trepidation there,” Garner said. “I hope it becomes clearer as we move into spring.”  

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