News Column

School officials cautious on full funding

February 3, 2014

By Alonzo Weston, St. Joseph News-Press, Mo.

Feb. 03 --When Gov. Jay Nixon gave his State of the State address last week, he proposed a $278 million increase in public school funding. The amount is still short of the $600 million the state promised to school districts when the new funding formula was approved years ago. However, if the plan passes, the school district's state funding could potentially increase to $4,449,915 , said Beau Musser , the district's chief financial officer. While it's good news, Mr. Musser is unsure the district would ever see the money. "I'm not overly optimistic that we're going to get this extra funding, because a large portion of our legislative body are pushing income tax cuts," Mr. Musser said. "I don't know how we can cut taxes and increase spending at the same time." During his address on Tuesday, Gov. Nixon called for $493 million for education. That money would also go for raising funds for preschools grants, increase scholarship money for high school graduates and freeze tuition fees at public universities. Mr. Musser said in the next few months, during House and Senate debates, the district will know more of what to expect. Nonetheless, if the governor's plan goes through, it would be a good deal for the school district -- but would still be underfunded by about $300 million , Mr. Musser said. The hope is that in year two, the district will receive the rest of the promised state funding. "If we do get this money, it will keep us from deficit spending or having to cut programs we don't want to cut," he said. Alonzo Weston can be reached at alonzo.weston@newspressnow.com . Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWeston. ___ (c)2014 the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.) Visit the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.) at www.newspressnow.com/index.html Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: St. Joseph News-Press (MO)


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