Our Opinion: Restoration of more school transportation aid promising

The release of additional state funds for public school transportation is encouraging — both for the economy and education.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday released an additional $10 million in transportation aid for public school districts. The amount follows $7.5 million in similar aid provided last month.

The restoration begins to offset the $70 million the governor cut last year from the $153 million lawmakers had allocated for school transportation.

Release of the latest amount was triggered by an increase in state revenues, reportedly up 6 percent in January when compared with the same time last year.

The Democratic governor’s action follows bipartisan calls from House Budget Committee leaders to begin restoring the funds.

Which political party receives credit is immaterial to us. To echo the reaction of Missouri School Boards Association spokesman Brent Ghan: “We’ll take it.”

In a Local Perspective published in the Jan. 9 edition, some local school officials described their frustrations attempting to budget amid uncertain revenues and fears of losing all state funding.

Restoration of some transportation funds helps dispel those fears.

Although state budget officials do not anticipate additional restoration of funds this year, Nixon’s budget for the next fiscal year recommends $98 million in transportation assistance.

We welcome the additional release of school transportation money.

It signals an uptick in the state’s economy. Perhaps more importantly, it heralds restoration of the state’s commitment to assist a crucial aspect of education.

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