Educators fear bill could slash millions in state funding if lawmakers override Nixon’s opposition

Jeanette Browning Faubion & Lee Stubbs

Citizen Staff


Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says if his veto of Missouri House Bill 253 — a sweeping state-wide tax decrease — is overturned by the state legislature in September, it would lead to a massive cut in state funding for public education.

Passed earlier this year in both houses of the Republican-led Missouri Legislature, the bill was vetoed by Nixon in June, citing the measure would cause sweeping cuts to education, services and infrastructure. In July, a campaign was launched to urge legislators to override the veto when the legislature returns to session in September.

School districts across the state have been lining up in recent weeks in support of the Governor’s stance, including public school districts in Platte County.

The Park Hill School District last week added its name to the list of those opposed to a resurrection of HB 253. The Board of Education passed a resolution opposing the legislation, joining the Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA), the Civic Council of Kansas City and about 40 other organizations in the Coalition for Missouri’s Future who oppose the legislation.

“We took this extraordinary step because the Board felt that HB 253 poses an extraordinary challenge to the financial health of the District,” Board President Susan Newburger said. “We believe that the District potentially could lose $2-3 million per year under HB 253.”

The Platte County R-3, West Platte and North Platte school districts have not yet passed official resolutions in support of Nixon’s veto, but officials from those districts say projected cuts to state funding would be disastrous to an already under-funded state formula.

“We are obviously very concerned about HB 253,” R-3 Superintendent Dr. Mike Reik said. “Board action is possible.”

That concern was also echoed in Weston and Dearborn.

“There has been no Board action, but we support the Governor’s stance on this issue,” West Platte Superintendent Dr. Jerrod Wheeler said. “If it’s (HB 253) passed it would have a dramatic financial impact on public education and could be absolutely devastating for some districts. We are hopeful the veto stands.”