Congress has passed a bill that will dole out $10 billion to school districts across the country, and Missouri is expected to get almost $189 million of that.
DeeAnn Aull with the Missouri National Education Association says the money will save 3,100 Missouri teacher’s jobs.
“Although it’s a short term fix, it’s significant for helping us through these difficult times so we can do what’s right for kids,” Aull said.
She says the quality of education in the state would suffer significantly.
“Because those class sizes are going up and the services that kids depend on are just not going to be there for them. So this will go a long way to helping solve that problem this year,” Aull said.
The money will have to be spent by next June, but it’s not completely clear yet how it will be distributed.
“It appears that it will probably go on a formula basis and there will be some high needs addressed, so that’s good news. With a fair distribution… from the preliminary stuff we’ve heard we’re not opposing anything that’s been suggested. We think it’s a good plan. The need was so high here that any assistance will be appreciated,” Aull said.
This is part of a jobs bill totaling $26 billion, with the other $16 billion going to states to save the jobs on nonfederal government workers. Missouri will get $209 million of those funds. Republicans, including Senator Bond, call this yet another bailout.
“The whole thing is economic tragedy and we’re continuing to build up great debt that will go not only on our credit cards, but our children’s and grandchildren’s credit cards. It’s intergenerational robbery and it absolutely makes no sense,” Bond said.
Meantime, Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Craig Hosmer applauds the effort, saying it makes plenty of sense.
“I don’t call that a bailout at all, when you’re talking about elementary and secondary education. That, in my opinion, that’s the number one thing the state and federal government should be doing,” Hosmer said.
Democrats say they’ll cover part of the costs of the bill by closing a loophole in tax code for multinational corporations. There are also plans to find savings by reducing food stamp benefits. But Bond says it’s clear the $26 billion dollars is not even close to being paid for.
“Clearly it’s not paid for. This is a tremendous effort to bail out states that are too big to fail. It’s an outrage. They put stimulus money into states to hire more teachers than they had on their payrolls. Now they want to continue them on the federal government and it’s not paid for,” Bond said.