Missouri’s education budget was dealt a severe blow last week after Gov. Jay Nixon approved budget cuts that would reduce the state budget by $300 million.
According to an article by The Associated Press, cuts included
- $70 million in $152.8 million of school transportation
- $4.1 million of 16.4 million from Bright Flight Scholarships
- $50 million of the $82.8 million budget for Access Missouri Scholarship
The budget reduction also resulted in an additional 255 state jobs being eliminated, which raises the total to around 2,500 positions eliminated since January 2009.
Nixon defended the budget cuts, explaining that Missouri’s tax revenue fell short of projections and legislators failed to pass several money-saving measures.
"Some might say we've been belt-tightening," Nixon said. "We may have had to punch another hole in the belt this time."
While several groups expressed concern about the cuts to education, the Missouri School Board Association was grateful that Nixon didn't touch the $3 billion in basic aid to public schools.
But the cuts to scholarships and financial aid are still difficult for many to deal with.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Rob Mayer said these cuts would be the hardest to deal with.
“However, I understand when you have revenues that just aren't at the levels you predicted, you have to take some drastic measures," Mayer said.
Is there a better way to reduce government costs without cutting deeper into the education budget?