Nixon speaks against bill


After speaking to the students, Nixon participated in a Q&A with local news outlets concerning the bill and his views on it.

Ronel Ghidey

After speaking to the students, Gov. Jay Nixon participated in a Q & A with local news outlets concerning the bill and his views on it. After describing how limiting the bill would be on state funds for school districts, he later went on to talk about his adoration of RBHS and its students, reinforcing his point that state funding shouldn’t limit students and their quality of education.
During his visit to RBHS today, Gov. Jay Nixon voiced his strong opposition to SB586, a pending bill that would decrease the state’s public school funding policies and shift the responsibility onto the local taxpayers. If it passes, the additional money that would be needed to fully fund Columbia Public Schools (CPS) would be approximately $418 million.
After his Q & A with students of RBHS, he later went on to criticize the Missouri General Assembly on how they are trying to fast track a bill that would cut the funding of schools, which he says will limit public education when they shouldn’t.
“I don’t think lowering the expectation for the state of Missouri [is], in essence, passing a bill so that future governors and legislators can grade themselves on a curve as to what fully funded is good policy for the state,” Nixon said. “Secondarily, if the state cuts its portion, that would put additional pressure on local communities to raise taxes to meet the means for public education, and I don’t think either of those are good policy.”
Senate bill 586 would lower the requirement that the government needs to meet to fully fund public schools down to about 400 million dollars. To put this into perspective, CPS currently receives around 51 million dollars a year. If the bill passes, the funding would cap out at about 55 million. If not, Nixon said CPS could possibly receive over 65 million dollars from the state.
With his visit, Nixon was not only able to express his dissatisfaction with the bill, but he was also able to interact with students in a way many haven’t seen. Senior LaTia Glasgow was surprised he took the time to visit RBHS in the first place, and is happy about his stance on the bill.
“I agree with Gov. Nixon that education should be our government’s number one priority,” Glasgow said. “Once we start putting limitations on school funding, we start putting limitations on the quality of our public education.”
Sophomore Kanisha Green-McClain agrees with Glasgow that by limiting school funds, the government is limiting the quality of education public schools can offer.
“Instead of taking money out of other programs, which I’m sure the government could do, they’re trying to limit the amount of money our schools would get from the state, which would then lead to more money out of pockets locally.” Green-McClain said. “Honestly, I don’t see how this could be beneficial at all. Unless the money’s going to other programs I don’t know about, I can only hope that this bill doesn’t pass.”
At the end of the day, Gov. Nixon said he strives to listen to arguments on each opposing sides in order to create changes that benefit everyone.
“I think that making those investments [in extra resources] in public education and getting to a fully funded formula [for the K12 foundation] is an important goal and is especially important,” Nixon said. “At the same time, that folks are wanting to lower that target for what is fully funded that it especially hurts growing districts like this one.”
The Missouri Senate Bill 586 passed last month and is pending in the house.
What do you think of the bill? Leave your comments below!