Education, including early childhood education, is vital to the state's ability to compete worldwide and create good jobs, Gov. Jay Nixon said today during a visit to Veterans Elementary School in Hannibal. The Governor's "Good Schools, Good Jobs" plan, which he detailed during his State of the State address this week, will increase access to early childhood education and fully fund the state's K-12 foundation formula by Fiscal Year 2016.
"To create good jobs and grow our economy, Missouri students must be prepared to compete in today's global marketplace," Gov. Nixon said. "That's why we're going to make sure schools like the ones here in Hannibal have the resources they need to provide students with a high quality, rigorous education that prepares them to go on to college or start a career. The choice before us is clear: we can expand opportunities for students and improve 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 Hannibal public schools by $1.28 million, which the district will use to increase access to early childhood education, hire more teachers and reduce class sizes.
"The evidence is overwhelming that if students start kindergarten ready to learn, they're more likely to succeed in schools and get a good job," Gov. Nixon said. "By expanding access to early childhood education, this smart investment will generate a huge return for our economy."
"These additional resources will allow our district to make strategic investments across all grade levels to improve learning and increase opportunities for our students," said Dr. Jill Janes, Hannibal Superintendent. "Gov. Nixon's proposal is a solid investment in this community that will keep our schools on track, and our students headed for success."
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 four years, Missouri has also led the nation in minimizing tuition increases at its public universities.