Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says he plans a "significant down payment" toward his goal of fully funding the state's school funding formula.

The Democratic governor told a gathering of public school leaders Wednesday he's working to fund the K-12 school formula by the time he leaves office in January 2017.

The current year's budget provides almost $3.1 billion in basic aid to elementary and secondary schools. State officials project the current funding level would be $556 million short of the target for next year's budget.

Nixon also said he wants to expand access to early childhood education and will continue implementing accountability measures such as the Common Core education standards.