School Board Sets Legislative Priorities

The Bourbon School Board chose a handful of legislative priorities to submit to the Missouri School Board Association’s online survey.

School board president Stephen Waldron submits the priorities to the survey and that survey is used as part of the MSBA’s legislative forum in February.

There are a range of issues Bourbon’s school board would like to see tackled by the Missouri legislature, including charter schools, the fully-funded formula, teacher pay, health insurance and technology.

Teacher Pay

In September, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) that Missouri teachers are paid less on average than those in eight surrounding states.

The state board of education reported earlier this year that Missouri has the second-lowest average starting teacher salary at $31,842. Only Montana was lower.

Pay is lowest in the most rural portions of the state, plus urban areas, according to the state board.

Fourteen percent of teachers in Missouri abandon the field each year.

The Teacher Workforce Outreach Plan was introduced to the state board of education last March and convened focus groups of urban teachers, rural teachers and teach prep programs.

They discussed issues such as shortages in content areas and geographic locations, recruitment of more diverse and male candidates into the profession and increasing retention rates of teachers already in the field, according to DESE.

Charter Schools

Charter schools are only allowed to operate in St. Louis and Kansas City, but bills have emerged to expand them across the state. Expanding charter schools has been one of the priorities of the MSBA.

Funding Formula

School board members also want the state to continue fully-funding the Missouri Foundation Formula.

The formula takes into consideration weighted average daily attendance, state adequacy target, dollar value modifier and local effort.

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