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Nixon Pushes Education Funding, Says Budget Estimate Differences "Relatively Small"

Gov. Jay Nixon and SPS Superintendent Dr. Norm Ridder speak with students Wednesday at Shady Dell Early Childhood Center/Credit:

A day after proposing $278 million for K-12 classrooms during his  State of the State address, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon worked to build support for his proposal before students and teachers in Springfield.

Nixon says his “Good Schools, Good Jobs” plan includes targeted expenditures that will put the state on track to fully fund the foundation formula by Fiscal Year 2016.

“Each one looked at very carefully to provide local control in the K-12, to provide budgetary support where it can be, but at the same time we’re continuing to look at rigor,” Nixon said.

The Governor’s K-12 budget would also add another $15 million for school buses and $12 million more in assessing student performance. 

The large boost in funding is aided by the Democratic Governor’s belief in strong economic growth next fiscal year, calling budget estimate differences “relatively small.” Nixon’s budget assumes revenue growth of 5.2 percent, while the Republican-led Legislature is expected to budget based on a 4.2 percent estimate.

“I don’t want folks to lose their eyes on the prize by having some political discourse about a prediction of what might happen in 16 or 18 months,” Nixon said.

The Governor added that he’s confident in being able to move forward with the Legislature on the revenue issue.

For Springfield Public Schools, the $278 million statewide proposal breaks down to $7.5 million for the district, which Nixon says will allow the district to provide early childhood education to an additional 4,000 kids in the community.

“That’s important. Because the evidence is overwhelming that the first five years of a child’s development have an impact that lasts a lifetime.”

Overall, Nixon’s proposed budget includes nearly half a billion dollars in funding for Pre-K through higher education.