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What the Missouri Hold Harmless Clause Means for Our Students and Schools


Just like you, those of ust at Missouri Parent see the phrase “hold harmless” used a lot in conversations about funding for Missouri’s K-12 public schools, but we rarely see the term explained in simple terms. Policy makers and education professionals might understand the hold harmless clause, but does the average Missouri parent?

The phrase “hold harmless” refers to the more than 170 public school districts that fall under a specific clause of the Missouri Foundation Formula. That clause says that no Missouri school district will receive less funding in the current year than it received in the 2005-6 school year.

Is your local public school district a hold harmless district? Check this list to see.

Educators use a finely-tuned formula to determine which schools are held harmless and which are not. The formula takes each district’s Weighted Average Daily Attendance (WADA), its State Adequacy Target (SAT), and its local funding efforts into account. (Learn more about the WADA and SAT in this post about the Foundation Formula.)

The bottom line is that if a Missouri school district’s current funding level is less now than it was in 2006, it is a hold harmless district.

The subject of hold harmless districts is, and will continue to be, relevant to public education funding and legislation. Keep coming back to the Missouri Parent Blog for accurate and timely information that impacts public education, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for daily education news and updates.

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