Funding battle

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press

Gov. Bob Holden released $83 million earlier this month withheld from public schools, colleges and universities. He made the move after the federal government released money to help the state Department of Social Services pay Medicaid costs.

But Republicans argue an improved economy has generated enough new revenue for the governor to release $122 million withheld from the state's budget for education.

The governor, on the other hand, still doesn't buy the Republicans' rosy budget numbers. He's not ready to let the school money go.

That leaves St. Joseph School superintendent Dan Colgan in a precarious position. The recent release of state money gave taxpayers the impression that the district's financial problems are over. But he warned that the district must brace for possible school closures and cutbacks in services. ...

This battle is actually over whether Missouri needs a tax increase. The governor should still be able to make that argument without holding the schools hostage.

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