I'm going to highlight our education funding for next year for you:
1. $278m increase for the Foundation Formula ($122m general revenue and $156m surplus revenue), which makes the K-12 education budget the largest in state history
2. $8.2m for Missouri Preschool Program in unaccredited and provisionally accredited districts.
3. $3.5m for reading programs in unaccredited and provisionally accredited districts.
4. $1m increase for Parents as Teachers.
5. $1m increase for Teach for America.
6. $25m increase for transportation funding.
7. $29m increase for First Steps Program.
1. 3% increase to the core at every university and community college in the state.
2. $10m in equity funding for community colleges.
3. Full ride loan forgiveness for Bright Flight recipients who stay and work in Missouri.
4. $20m increase for Access Missouri
5. $6.7m increase for A plus Scholarship Program.
$1.5m in UMSL equity funding.
As you can see for yourself, we are not shorting education!
Speaking of Education, I was covered up with 8th grade visitors on Thursday. Rocky Comfort, Southwest City, and Anderson all came to the Capitol for a visit. They were given a tour of the Capitol, the Governor's Mansion, and The Supreme Court. We all had Pizza and cold drinks for lunch and I was able to make introductions on the House Floor. Thanks to the Principals, Teachers, and Staff for making this a great experience for over 150 students!
I held the first official Joint Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect hearing of this session on Monday. We had Department people there to explain the pay schedule and qualifications in regard to Caseworkers and Investigators. There was quite a bit of information to digest and we will direct a future meeting toward more questions. This weeks' hearing will be focused on training practices for caseworkers and Investigators. The purpose of these hearings are to improve the practices in an attempt to solve the high turnover problem and to make sure that people are suited for and properly trained for these critical positions.
Looks like this week is going to be a busy one. I'll keep you posted. Until then, I am and remain in your service.