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Citizens React after Veto Stands on House Bill 253

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Educators say House Bill 253 would have drained millions of dollars each year from local school districts across Missouri. One school superintendent in the Ozarks applauds the decision to let the veto stand.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Educators say House Bill 253 would have drained millions of dollars each year from local school districts across Missouri. One school superintendent in the Ozarks applauds the decision to let the veto stand.

On the other hand, a group formed to help what it calls "leveling the playing field" and wants to make Missouri become more economically competitive.

"I have three million reasons why it wasn't good for Nixa," says Dr. Stephen Kleinsmith, the superintendent of Nixa public schools.

Kleinsmith thinks the House made the right decision by upholding the veto of House Bill 253.

"Three million dollars is what we would have lost if this bill would not have been vetoed,” says Kleinsmith.

He says Missouri public schools are not fully funded to begin with.

"So we're not getting what's supposed to come our way as it stands,” says Kleinsmith. “So to take money out of an underfunded formula is bad news for public schools and ultimately bad news for kids."

But not everyone feels that this veto is beneficial to the state of Missouri. A coalition was created this summer after the passage of House Bill 253. Grow Missouri believes that citizens of this state are carrying such a heavy tax burden that it leaves little room for growth.

"When more people are working, when more families have jobs, businesses are hiring more people, that represents growth,” says Aaron Willard, the treasurer of Grow Missouri. “And when all of those people do those things, they're spending more money, that creates additional revenue,"

Willard says that kind of growth helps everybody, including the schools.

"When there's that kind of economic growth,” says Willard. “A school district is absolutely going to have more money."

Kleinsmith disagrees.

"I too like lower taxes and there's nothing wrong with writing a bill that helps lower taxes as long as it's done strategically and not a way that's going to hurt students,” he says. “And in this case public school students in Missouri; all nearly one million of them."

Kleinsmith says every school district would have to handle cut backs differently if a bill like this were to pass.

He says in Nixa it would have increased class sizes and there would be a 10 percent reduction across the board for budget programs and services they currently provide, among many other things.


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