School transportation funding cuts to affect Jefferson City Public Schools

School transportation funding cuts to...

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Jefferson City Public Schools officials expect to see a decrease in transportation funding for the next school year, after Gov. Eric Greitens unveiled the state budget Thursday.

The governor recommended a cut of more than $36 million to school transportation in the 2018 fiscal year.

At the beginning of this fiscal year in July, statewide school transportation funds totaled nearly $105.3 million. JCPS was set to receive about a $750,000 portion.

Since then, some of the funds have been restricted, released and restricted again, reducing the district's cut significantly.

"Where we sit now, we're expecting to get about $600,000 this year," JCPS chief financial officer Jason Hoffman said. "So a reduction of $150,000 from where we were July 1."

That only covers about 16 percent of the district's $3.8 million transportation budget for the year, which is much less than what is legally mandated.

"The transportation formula, the way it's written into law, is we're supposed to be reimbursed 75 percent of our allowable costs," Hoffman said.

In Greitens' newly released budget, state school transportation funds are set to be cut down to roughly $69.3 million next year.

JCPS expects to receive an even lower amount next year-- about $500,000. And the price of the district's contract with First Student Transportation is only set to increase with inflation.

But Hoffman said the cuts will not affect any JCPS bus routes or transportation services, and that the district will have to find money in the budget.

"We will look at how all of our revenues are coming in and then look at our expenses and what we can fund and can't fund," Hoffman said. "But our routes are, you know, we have to get kids to school. That's an important part of them being in school-- having good attendance and being in their seats and learning."

The budget Greitens released Thursday is not final and must be approved by the General Assembly.

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, on Thursday voiced her disapproval of the public education cuts, saying House Democrats plan to make changes to the budget.

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