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Nixon's Budget to Include Extension of School Days, Expansion of A+ Program

Gov. Nixon addresses a crowd at John Thomas School of Discovery/Credit Scott Harvey

Governor Jay Nixon says he’ll push for another six days to the school year this legislative session, bringing Missouri in line with the national average.

The Governor was in Nixa Friday morning speaking at John Thomas School of Discovery, whose school district has been accredited ‘with distinction’ for 11 consecutive years.

Nixon says by having students go to school 180 days out of the year, compared to the current 174, Missouri can be more competitive in today’s economy.

“When you have the fourth-shortest school year, required at least by law, then you need to move it. And that’s one of the reasons why we’re here today to talk about getting that at least up in the short term here to that national average, and then move beyond that if we possibly can. So things like that, where clearly we can do a better job in supporting local school districts, are areas where we wanna move in and move this year,” Nixon said.

Nixa School Board President Scott McDonald agrees that with more experience, comes a better education.

“It’s shown that when we try harder at something, just like with a basketball team – whenever they practice more they get better, and I think the same thing will happen with education,” McDonald said.

Meanwhile, the school year at John Thomas School of Discovery has been lengthened to 194 days. Each student here has an iPad, part of the district’s tech plan, a three year project to increase accessibility to new learning tools.

“It’s just amazing to look there and realize that basically those kids have access to whatever books they want right there in their hand,” Nixon added. “But what’s really important is understanding that not only can the students have access to more, but the teachers are able to see through interactive methods, what they’re learning. So if a kid’s missing something, they can help them right close those gaps. So I think it provides a two-way educational opportunity.”

Nixon also called for opening the doors of higher education for every Missouri student.

“And then making that A+ Program, which this school district has embraced for years to make college more affordable, made to cover all folks all across the State of Missouri. This is the year that it needs to get done.”

The Governor says his Fiscal Year 2014 budget will include funding to expand and expedite the A+ designation to every school district in the state.

The Governor says he’s proud of the state and national leadership shown by Nixa Public Schools. The district’s high school was recently one of eight schools in the state nominated for Blue Ribbon recognition, which salutes schools where students are achieving at high levels or where significant progress is being made in closing achievement gaps. Other local Blue Ribbon nominees include Bolivar High School, Spokane High School and Willow Springs High School.

Nixon will detail additional legislative and economic priorities during his State of the State Address at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28. You can hear that address on KSMU.