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Nicastro Says More Funding Needed For Student Assessments Under Common Core

Mo. Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education
DESE Commissioner Chris Nicastro

A Missouri House subcommittee is considering whether to approve more money for student assessment tests under the new Common Core State Standards.

The standards are designed to put in place common nationwide achievement goals in math and language arts.  Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro told committee members Tuesday that implementing the Common Core in Missouri has not cost the state any additional money, but that measuring student performance under the new standards will.

"We had to go out last spring for bids for a new testing vendor," Nicastro said.  "The result of that bid came in significantly higher than what we'd been spending previously."

Nicastro said back in September the department requested $30 million in the fiscal year 2015 budget to cover the cost of student assessments, as compared to $12 million in years past. She suggested, though, that the final cost is still an estimate.

"It would probably be more like $26 million roughly," Nicastro said.  "It's doubled…it's more than doubled."

Even though the state board of education adopted the standards in 2010, to be implemented in the 2014-15 school year, they have become controversial. In the legislative session last year, a bill was introduced to to bar the state from putting the standards into place without legislative approval. The billl was changed to require education officials to hold hearings to let people know what they are, how they would change what Missouri students learn and how much they might cost to put into effect. Those hearings were held last May.

State Sen. John Lamping, R-Ladue, has prefiled a billfor this legislative session to prohibit the state from implementing the Common Core standards for public schools.

The 2014 legislative session begins Wednesday at noon.

Dale Singer contributed information for this report.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.