Educators Worry Income Tax Cut Will Hurt School Funding

By Linda Ong |

Published 05/06 2014 06:43PM

Updated 05/06 2014 06:48PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Educators across the state disagree with votes by Missouri lawmakers to overturn the Governor's veto of an income tax cut.

Senate Bill 509 will implement an income tax cut that would reduce state revenue by $620 million annually. Those in opposition to the bill say the legislation would pose significant cuts to education funding.

"Whenever you start talking about any kind of reduction in funding that could cut affect public education, we get concerned," said Denise Fredrick, President of Springfield Public Schools Board.

Fredrick said Senate Bill 509 could result in approximately $6.5 million in funding cuts to the already underfunded district.

"If you look at $6.5 million-- that looks like 130 teacher salaries, positions," said Fredrick. "That would like higher number of students per classroom. It could look at complete programs."

The Missouri School Board Association estimates funding to schools throughout the state will be cut by about $223 million a year as a result of the bill.

"Well right now Missouri already under-funds its schools from its bare minimum adequacy target," said Jones, Political Director at the Missouri National Education Association.

Jones said the effects of the bill will be immediate.

"What we are most concerned about is how the bond rating for the state will be impacted," he said. "That impacts our local bond ratings and so that could cost parents and students money right from the get-go."

Dr. Stephen Kleinsmith, Superintendent of Nixa Public Schools, said he is disappointed by the vote, but believes it may be too early to determine the bill's impact.

"In public education, it's only how bad it will hurt. From that vantage point, I'm anxious to see just how damaging it will become," said Kleinsmith. "Hopefully it won't be as bad as we've been led to believe."

Republicans said SB 509 will not cut funding to education and other state services.

Educators said they are aware of the potential for cuts and will planning accordingly.

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