Gov. Nixon in State of the State speech: 'Get serious' about education

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 | 9:07 p.m. CST; updated 9:13 a.m. CST, Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon delivered his State of the State speech Tuesday night. He talked about education funding in terms of job creation. By the end of the decade, two-thirds of jobs will require some kind of advanced degree, he said.

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Jay Nixon highlighted education as a priority in his Tuesday night State of the State speech, saying his budget would nearly triple the state preschool budget and increase K-12 funding by $278 million.

“This is the year to get serious about fully funding our schools,” Nixon told the General Assembly.


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He said his plan would put Missouri on the path to fulfilling the education formula next year. The governor’s budget increases education funding by $493 million.

He also called on public universities to freeze their tuition rates.

Nixon also talked about education funding in terms of job creation. By the end of the decade, two-thirds of jobs will require some kind of advanced degree, he said.

Nixon's budget allocates $22 million for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, initiative. The funds would be used to purchase equipment, expand lab space and produce more college graduates in science fields.

Nixon said he also wants to provide community colleges $20 million to educate 1,200 mental health professionals.

Transitioning to health care, Nixon proposed a bond that would fund a new mental health facility in Fulton. Nixon said the Fulton State Hospital is underfunded and has dangerous work conditions.

Nixon also said he wanted to restrict campaign contributions, pass ethics reform, and pass legislation to end workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.

Nixon’s expected Medicaid expansion drew loud applause. Although he acknowledged the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act, he said that by not doing anything, Missouri isn’t making the program any better.

Because Missouri did not expand Medicaid, residents have paid $115 million since Jan. 1 for other states to expand their own programs while getting nothing in return, Nixon said. With a disparity in costs and benefits, he challenged the General Assembly to reflect on how Missouri cares for people unable to afford normal health insurance.

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Mary Douglass January 22, 2014 | 11:01 a.m.

I'll get excited about supporting higher education in Missouri when our legislature demands current tuition be reduced by 80% so anyone with the ability to attend can afford to attend, and writes legislation requiring higher education leadership candidates must hold an earned PhD and meet Federal standards of no conflicts of interest with the schools or their governing boards.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz January 22, 2014 | 2:29 p.m.

Every picture of the Governor I see, he is wielding his preacher finger.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 22, 2014 | 3:28 p.m.

I won't support increased K-12 funding without major changes in the way we do this thing called "education". I've heard calls for more money over my many years, but no improvement. Ergo, my conclusion is more money = status quo or less. So, do NOT have my support. Your words have been proved no better than political blah-blah-blah-blah. If you really meant it, Mr Governor, you'd insist upon change.

Unfortunately, you're beholden.

I also support either closure, consolidation, or (especially) privatization of many existing higher education institutions in this state. We have far too many.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 22, 2014 | 5:22 p.m.

That Missouri has too many state-supported institutions of higher learning is something Michael Williams, George Kennedy, Hank Waters and Ellis Smith are agreed upon. You don't see THAT happen often! :)

However, chances anything will ever be done to correct the situation are essentially zero.

Here (Iowa), with a population about half that of Missouri, we have only three state universities. Students at two of them call the third, UNI, "The University of No Importance" but it has a good academic reputation as well.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams January 22, 2014 | 8:12 p.m.


UNI usually has a pretty tough women's track team.

You are right....not much will be done. Whole communities and economies are built around those colleges/universities. It'd be like trying to close an army or airforce base. Ain't gonna happen.

PS: Except for the track Nazis (people herders), the University of Iowa has a rather good indoor track meet that I used to attend each year. It's the only place I've ever been where the track marshalls were so obnoxious, they made you feel guilty trying to get to the john.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith January 23, 2014 | 5:39 a.m.

UNI has at least two claims to persons of national note. A football quarterback who, after gaining fame in arena football, took the St. Louis Rams NFL team to two Super Bowls, winning one of them, and a novelist (a business professor, of all things!) whose novel "The Bridges of Madison County" was a best seller and was made into a motion picture.

[BTW the covered bridges in Madison County are worth taking a detour west of I-35 to see. Not much chance of meeting Eastwood or Streep, however.]

But UNI's real claim to fame is their "UNIDome." How about that! The smallest of the three state universities is the one with a domed (indoor) football stadium.

Well, it gets damned cold in Cedar Falls, Iowa in the winter. Freeze yurassoff!

The big outdoor track event in these parts is the Drake [University] Relays, which along with the Penn Relays and Kansas Relays is a major national spring event. (Here's to the man who wears the 'D'!")

(Report Comment)

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