Brighter future for Missouri students

Sunday, June 17, 2007

By Matt Blunt

Education is our most important investment, and since I was elected governor I have worked to make education Missouri's top budget and public policy priority. Working with your elected representatives, we have increased education funding by more than a half a billion dollars over the last three years.

This year we have provided a $132.6 million increase to fully fund the foundation formula, a formula that focuses on the needs of Missouri students, not the taxing capacity of a district.

The A+ Schools Program is an important program that has allowed thousands more Missouri students to attend college. This year, we secured a $3.6 million increase for the A+ Schools Program.

Missouri is also being proactive in our efforts to enhance math and science opportunities for our students. Improving education in the areas of math and science ensures that Missouri students are prepared to be successful members of our global economy. This year I recommended and secured $2.9 million to expand the eMINTS program to 100 classrooms in 100 different schools and focus on math and science curriculum. The program integrates technology and core curriculum in the classroom. I also commend the General Assembly for sending me a budget that includes $1 million for afterschool programs expansion with emphasis on math and science, and $250,000 for the Advanced Placement program to provide an incentive for students to take math and science exams.

We are also investing $5.2 million for Missouri's new Virtual School Program. This program expands choices for students, parents and educators to enhance and design learning opportunities specific to each child's unique needs. The goal of the virtual school is to use technology to improve and expand Missouri students' education. I am pleased Missouri students will now have access to this state of the art learning tool that will help prepare them for success.

Early childhood education has also been an important investment of my administration. This year we will be providing a $2 million increase for the Parents as Teachers Program. Since 2005, we will have provided $4 million more to the very successful Parents as Teachers Program.

Today I am happy to report that we have delivered more than half a billion dollars to Missouri classrooms over the last three years. I commend the members of the General Assembly who share my commitment to ensuring our children receive the world-class education they deserve.

Matt Blunt is the governor of Missouri.

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