MO Statehouse
5:35 pm
Thu January 13, 2011

Gov. Nixon releases $7.5 million for school bus funding in Mo.

Governor Jay Nixon has released $7.5 million for public school busing that he had earlier withheld due to Missouri's budget troubles.

The amount is just a fraction of the $70 million budgeted for public school transportation, the rest of which remains frozen.

Linda Luebbering is Missouri's Budget Director.

"We've been monitoring fuel prices," Luebbering said.  "Diesel and regular gas(oline) both are up about 10 percent, compared to where they were when the school year started, and so the governor wanted to make available a little bit of additional funding for those transportation costs."

Earlier today, the Associated Press cited figures from the State Treasurer's office, stating that Missouri's general revenue fund contained about $484 million as of December 31st.  The figure marks a 57 percent increase in the fund from December 2009.

Luebbering says, though, that revenue collections this fiscal year are only slightly better than anticipated.

"The worst thing possible would be to spend money that we don't have, and then at the end of the fiscal year have to tell people, 'Sorry, we can't give you the money you thought you were going to get this month,'" Luebbering said.  "We don't want to be in that situation."

The announcement from the governor's office came about an hour after two State Representatives, Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) and Sarah Lampe (D, Springfield), held a press conference asking for the release of school transportation funding.

Luebbering says the decision to release some of the funds was made before the press conference, which she says the governor's office was unaware of.