Gov. Jay Nixon, senior administration officials and education leaders from throughout central Missouri met today at Centralia Intermediate School to discuss the impact of House Bill 253 on Missouri's public schools.
"Each day, more and more local schools boards, business organizations and even lawmakers who originally supported this legislation are now speaking out against House Bill 253 because of its harmful impacts to public schools," Gov. Nixon said. "This legislation is fundamentally flawed, as it would raise taxes on prescription drugs while giving special tax breaks to lawyers and lobbyists. House Bill 253 is an unbalanced approach that won't grow our economy, and should not become law."
"Smaller communities like Centralia cannot afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars in cuts we could see if House Bill 253 becomes law," said Centralia Schools Superintendent Darin Ford.
More than 80 school boards and local boards of education from across Missouri have passed resolutions urging the legislature to sustain the Governor's veto of House Bill 253, including boards in the Central, Fulton, Harrisburg, Moberly, New Bloomfield, and South Callaway County school districts.
Findings published last month by the three leading independent credit rating agencies, Standard & Poor's, Fitch and Moody's, also show the potential for serious risks to Missouri's fiscal health and the state's long-standing AAA credit rating if the Governor's veto is overridden and House Bill 253 becomes law. A downgrade to the state's credit rating would increase the interest paid on state and local school bond issues.
An analysis released earlier this week by the Missouri National Education Association, AFT-Missouri and the Missouri State Teachers Association found that cuts to public school budgets if House Bill 253 became law would be the equivalent of eliminating between 5,000 and 9,000 teachers across Missouri.
Data also released last month by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at the request of the Missouri Association of School Administrators showed a breakdown of district funding levels under two scenarios if House Bill 253 becomes law.
The first scenario showed the impact using the General Assembly's fiscal note, which estimates a total cost of $692 million each year once the bill is fully implemented. The second scenario showed the impact using funding levels if the Federal Marketplace Fairness Act becomes law, which would increase the cost of House Bill 253 to $1.2 billion as early as the current fiscal year.
"Asking local schools to lay off teachers and overcrowd classrooms will not move our state forward," Gov. Nixon said. "That's why it's so important that folks let their elected representatives know that this September, a vote for House Bill 253 is a vote against public education."
The negative impact of House Bill 253 on schools in central Missouri would be significant. When fully implemented, the cost each year could be $443,000 for Centralia schools, $731,000 for Central schools, $516,000 for Hallsville schools, $1.4 million for Jefferson City schools, and $799,000 for Marshall schools. If the Federal Marketplace Fairness Act becomes law, the cost for the current year could be $768,000 for Centralia schools, $1.2 million for Central schools, $894,000 for Hallsville schools, $2.5 million for Jefferson City schools, and $1.3 million for Marshall schools.
A copy of the spreadsheet provided to Missouri Association of School Administrators regarding the annual impact to Missouri school districts can be found here.
The Governor's veto message on House Bill 253 is available here.