Good schools are vital to Missouri's ability to compete and create jobs in the global economy, Gov. Jay Nixon said today during a visit to Fort Zumwalt North High in O'Fallon. The Governor's "Good Schools, Good Jobs" plan, which he detailed during his State of the State last week, will provide the resources to help the Fort Zumwalt School District reduce class sizes and expand access to early childhood education.
"Winning the global competition for the jobs of tomorrow starts with investing in students today," Gov. Nixon said. "Missouri's growing economy, combined with our responsible fiscal management, affords us the opportunity to provide public schools with the resources they need to prepare students to compete for good jobs. The choice before us is clear: we can build on our momentum by investing in our schools, or we can settle for less and watch our students -- and our economy -- fall behind."
Gov. Nixon's Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal includes an increase of $278 million for K-12 classrooms, putting the state on a path to fully funding the foundation formula in two years. The K-12 foundation formula, passed into law in 2005, establishes the state's funding level for K-12 schools. This would increase funding for Fort Zumwalt public schools by more than $6.4 million, which the district will use to hire 50 more teachers to reduce class sizes, open new computer labs, and provide early childhood educational opportunities to 150 more students.
"Our mission here at Fort Zumwalt is to provide students with the knowledge and skills that will help them thrive in work and in life -- and that is exactly what Governor Nixon's proposal will help us do," said Dr. Bernard DuBray, Superintendent of the Fort Zumwalt School District. "By helping us reduce class sizes, purchase new technology and expand access to early childhood education, Governor Nixon's "Good Schools, Good Jobs' plan will make a big difference for students today, and pay substantial dividends for this community in the future."
Gov. Nixon has made public education in Missouri a top priority of his administration. Math and reading scores have increased on his watch and Missouri's high school graduation rate is now the eighth highest in the nation. Over the past five years, Missouri has also led the nation in minimizing tuition increases at its public universities.