Governor Holden Makes More Budget Cuts for Missouri Schools



Governor Holden Makes More Budget Cuts for Missouri Schools
By: Kate Scott
Missouri Governor Bob Holden has ordered the state to cut another 82-million dollars that would have gone to public schools and state colleges.
Holden made the cuts late Thursday, in order to finish balancing the budget for the rest of this fiscal year.  Missouri was in the hole 400-million dollars.  For weeks, Holden has said he'd have to cut education funding if lawmakers couldn’t come up with a way to cover that amount.  The House and Senate finally closed much of the gap with revenue bonds, but left 82-million dollars, now erased by Holden’s education cuts.
When you break it down, taking another 82-million dollars away from Missouri schools means a 21-million dollar cut for colleges and universities, and a 61-million dollar loss for grades K-12.  That's a lot of money, but not nearly as much as Holden was projecting when he visited the campus of Southeast Missouri State back in January. Then, he told SEMO administrators that they could lose up to eight million dollars if lawmakers couldn't work things out. Since they did come to a compromise, SEMO will now lose $1,053,944, an amount the school says it’s prepared to handle.
For elementary and secondary schools in Southeast Missouri, the individual losses are also smaller than projected a month ago.  Each amount depends on the size of the district, and how much the district was getting from the state.  For a district the size of Altenburg, that means just under 2-thousand dollars.  Whereas the Poplar Bluff School District will end the year nearly three hundred thousand dollars short.
So how will that affect students?  Most superintendents say this late in the school year, there’s not a lot they can do to cut down on costs.  They can't lay off teachers who have already signed contracts.  And they can't take back money they've already spent on technology and supplies.  So chances are, students won't even notice the difference in their classrooms right now.  It is possible that some districts could cut certain programs this school year.  For instance, Chaffee Superintendent Arnold Bell tells Heartland News that his district will probably cover its forty thousand dollar loss by cutting the summer school and summer food programs. 
But many administrators say the money will probably come out of their operating budgets, which could put their districts into deficit spending.  If that happens, students could feel more of a pinch next year, when the districts have to start out already in the hole.
The Missouri Department of Secondary and Elementary Education has released a report, listing how much money every state school district stands to lose in this round of cuts.  You can find your school on that list, by clicking on the following link: