MO Statehouse
5:38 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

Nixon releases $10 million for school buses in Missouri

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has released an additional $10 million withheld from school bus funding for Missouri's public schools this year.

Nixon initially ordered $70 million withheld from K-12 transportation funding, citing dwindling revenues.

Budget Director Linda Luebbering says the state has taken in more revenue than expected, enabling them to release more school bus money.

"For the year as a whole, we're up 6.3 percent in revenue collections, compared to last Fiscal Year (FY 2010)," Luebbering said.  "That's just slightly ahead of where we expected to be at this point in time."

Luebbering also cited improved revenue and higher fuel costs for last month's decision to release $7.5 million in school bus funding, which happened on the same day two lawmakers criticized the governor for withholding the funds.  The Nixon administration described the timing as a coincidence.

One of those lawmakers, State Representative Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City), chairs the House Budget Committee.  He says the governor is required by the State Constitution to release all money withheld if revenues come in higher than projected.

"I think that you need to be judicious about it and watch the revenue each month as it ticks in," Silvey said.  "If we continue to exceed projections every month, then I think that the funds should be released on a schedule."

Luebbering says, though, they don't expect to release any additional school bus funding for the rest of the current school year.