Gov. Nixon, senior administration officials and education leaders from throughout southeast Missouri today met at New Madrid County Central High School to discuss the impact of House Bill 253 on Missouri's public schools. Gov. Nixon vetoed House Bill 253 last month, calling it an unaffordable experiment that would force dramatic cuts to education and raise taxes on prescription drugs.
"Nothing will have a greater impact on the future of our state than the commitment we make now to education," Gov. Nixon said. "Unfortunately, right now, one reckless experiment cooked up by a few special interests threatens to take us irretrievably off course. With an annual price tag of more than $800 million, House Bill 253 would undermine our ability to support public education in Missouri now, and for years to come."
Data released earlier this week 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.
"With revenue reductions of this magnitude, almost all public services would be affected if House Bill 253 becomes law. But the impact on our K-12 schools would be among the most devastating to local communities, and harmful to our long-term economic growth," Gov. Nixon said. "That is why I know House Bill 253 cannot be implemented without doing serious and lasting damage to our schools, and diminishing educational opportunities for our students. The fact is, members of the General Assembly can either support House Bill 253 or they can support education, but they can't do both."
The negative impact of House Bill 253 on schools in southeast Missouri would be significant. When fully implemented the cost each year could be $689,000 for Cape Girardeau schools, $1 million for Sikeston schools, $211,000 for New Madrid schools and $546,000 for Dexter Schools. If the Federal Marketplace Fairness Act becomes law, the cost for the current year could be $1.2 million for Cape Girardeau, $1.8 million for Sikeston, $366,000 for New Madrid, and $944,000 for Dexter.
"New Madrid County Schools are committed to ensuring students have the knowledge, skills, and experience for success in life," said Dr. Cindy Amick, Superintendent of New Madrid County R-I. "But the funding cuts that would result from House Bill 253 becoming law would put all of our students, teachers and schools at risk. We hope members of the General Assembly will recognize that Missouri schools cannot afford the incredible price tag that comes with House Bill 253."