Missouri was the number-one state in technology job growth in the nation last year, and good schools are vital to building on this momentum, Gov. Jay Nixon said today during a visit to Concordia High School in Lafayette County. Gov. Nixon discussed his "Good Schools, Good Jobs" plan which will fully fund the state's K-12 foundation formula by Fiscal Year 2016, and provide the resources to help the Concordia R-2 School District retain quality staff by bringing salaries in line with similar sized districts, offer additional remedial math instruction at the elementary school, and increase access to technology in the classroom.
"Last year, Missouri led the nation in technology job growth. To continue this economic momentum, we must make sure that every community has good schools, so that every graduate can find a good job," Gov. Nixon said. "That's why my "Good Schools, Good Jobs' plan makes targeted investments in our future workforce, so that businesses continue to see Missouri as a great place to invest and create jobs."
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.
"As our economy continues to grow, we now have the opportunity to fully fund Missouri's schools," Gov. Nixon said. "Unfortunately, there are still some who want to place special interests ahead of public schools. Even though Missouri already has the sixth-lowest taxes in the nation, some folks want to cut taxes in a way that would make it impossible to provide schools like Concordia with the resources they need. Taking money out of our classrooms and weakening our future workforce will not grow our economy. That's why I will continue to work each and every day to get the dollars in the classroom needed to keep our promise of a quality education to every Missouri child."
Gov. Nixon's Fiscal Year 2015 "Good Schools, Good Jobs" budget proposal would also increase funding for Concordia R-2 Schools by more than $163,000. The district would use the increased funding to recruit and retain quality educators by implementing a stepped salary increase. Currently, Concordia reports that it has some of the lowest salaries in its conference. The additional resources would also allow the district to offer more remedial math instruction at the elementary school so that struggling students receive additional attention earlier, when intervention is most effective. The district will also be able to update their computer labs, and increase access to technology in the classroom with laptop computers and tablets being incorporated into more lesson plans and instruction time.
"The teachers and staff at Concordia schools are preparing students for success in college and beyond, and we need to make sure these educators have the resources they need to continue providing a quality education," said Mary Beth Scherer, Concordia Superintendent. "Gov. Nixon's plan to fully fund Missouri's schools will allow Concordia to improve technology in the classroom so that students have the skills they need to find a good job or go on to college after they graduate."
Missouri was the fastest-growing state for technology employment in 2013, according to new analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics by Dice.com. Missouri gained 2,700 tech positions in 2013, an increase of 8.4 percent, in the category of Professional and Business Services, Computer Systems design and Related Services.
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.