Gov. Jay Nixon today made available $3 million to support local school district transportation programs across Missouri and more than $2 million to Missouri's colleges and universities. Gov. Nixon provided these additional funds as they became available because of increases in a dedicated state funding source to support public education.
The Governor said the $3 million in additional transportation funds would be helpful to local school districts as they face rising fuel prices. Diesel prices have spiked in recent weeks and are projected to continue to rise through the end of the school year.
"As school districts grapple with skyrocketing fuel costs, I am pleased to be able to provide these additional funds that will make a real difference," Gov. Nixon said. "Getting kids to and from school safely is a vital, and these additional resources will help schools provide this critical transportation. I remain fully committed to maintaining relentless fiscal discipline to balance our budget and hold the line on taxes, and I will continue to control the rate of state spending to make sure state government lives within its means."
Meanwhile, the $2.23 million for Missouri's public colleges and universities will help higher education institutions throughout the state continue to make investments in delivering high quality programs for students.
"We track our revenues and spending in real time," Gov. Nixon said. "I will continue to monitor our revenue situation closely and control the rate of state spending to ensure that our budget remains balanced."
The Governor made this announcement during a visit to Nixa High School. The Nixa School District earned the state's Distinction in Performance Designation for the 2011-2012 school year; the district has earned this designation each of the past 10 years. For a public school district to achieve the Distinction in Performance Designation, the district must meet at least 13 out of 14 academic standards, including all six Missouri Assessment Program standards.
"The teachers, faculty and staff at Nixa schools are committed to ensuring that their students are learning the right skills today to be successful tomorrow and beyond," Gov. Nixon said. "To continue supporting great schools like this throughout Missouri, my budget for next year recommends record funding for K-12 classrooms, and I look forward to working with the General Assembly to make this commitment a reality."
Gov. Nixon reiterated that strong public schools are a vital pillar of Missouri's economy, as they train young people for the jobs and career opportunities of tomorrow. Just yesterday, the Missouri Department of Economic Development announced that the state added more than 21,000 new jobs in January, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent, the lowest level since November 2008.
"Our public schools and our colleges and universities are preparing Missourians to compete for and succeed in jobs and careers in high-demand fields, and that's making a real difference for our economy," Gov. Nixon said. "I commend outstanding school districts, like Nixa, that are truly helping move our economy forward."