Public education programs, including higher education, can expect some positive changes over the next few months. Restored funding, an updated budget and a new bill have intentions of improving conditions for education funds.
$6.75 million previously cut from public education will be restored to the education budget thanks to the record-high ticket revenue from the Mega Millions jackpot. The move will restore funding for fine arts and scholar academies, the Access Missouri Scholarship, A+ Schools program, tutoring and an early literacy program.
“These funds will be put to immediate use by our school districts for the vital task of bringing children safely to and from school, even as districts face the challenge of rising fuel prices, and also will support important learning opportunities in the arts and other fields,” Gov. Jay Nixon said. “I will continue working to ensure that state government lives within its means, and I’m pleased that we’re able to make these additional resources available to have a significant impact on these education programs.”
$5 million will be restored for K-12 transportation assistance, reversing the entire $8 million originally cut. Nixon released the remaining $3 million for busing in February.
Nixon announced the restored funding as the Senate Appropriations Committee reviewed and passed an updated $24 billion 2013 budget. Members of the Senate said they are determined to keep funding strong for vital state programs, including education, without raising taxes on Missourians, according to the Missouri Senate website. The budget proposal will be reviewed by the full Senate for consideration. Nixon will begin review of the budget’s final version no later than May 11.
The committee is also reviewing a new bill that intends to create the Higher Education Capital Fund. The fund would provide a match for public colleges or universities that raise 50 percent of costs for capital projects.