Nixon announces lowed education plans
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Nixon announces lowed education plans

Date: October 6, 2008
By: Sarah D. Wire
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Democrat candidate for governor Attorney General Jay Nixon laid out his plans for lower education and the economy during a speech before teachers and administrators Monday night, a plan his opponent's campaign said the state cannot afford.

"Jay Nixon would bankrupt Missouri schools," said Scott Baker, spokesman for Republican candidate U.S. Rep. Kenny Hulshof. "If all the spending he has proposed went into effect then teachers would have to be laid off by the hundreds."

Baker said the budget situation is already expected to be tight next year and that Nixon's plans are his attempt to "be all things to all people."

"The next governor is going to face some extremely tough decisions," Baker said.

Oren Shur, spokesman for the Nixon campaign, said, "Kenny Hulshof is the last person who should be talking about a balanced budget, he is the absolute last."

The lower education plan presented by Nixon included reducing the state's high school drop out rate, recruiting new teachers and improving school safety. He also spoke about starting early childhood education plans, providing more funding for public education, and increasing teacher salaries.

While speaking to reporters after his speech, Nixon said the state needs to become more efficient but said his entire platform is affordable.

"The bottom line is they are about priorities but I think everything that we've laid out is clearly within the dollars that we have in the bank at this point," Nixon said. "We certainly will have to react to how the economy is in the future but the proposals I've laid out are clearly fundable with the cash balance the state has now."

Shur said most of Nixon's plan would not introduce new spending but would improve current programs.

"When Jay Nixon is governor he will make our public education a priority," Shur said. "Unlike Congressman Hulshof, Jay Nixon believes it is critical we invest in Missouri public schools."

Hulshof presented an urban education plan in late September which called for increasing the number of charter schools in St. Louis and Kansas City along with providing tax credits for donating to a scholarship fund to pay for private school tuition. 

Nixon also said if elected he would veto any bill containing school voucher language that came to his desk.

"I just do not think, with the limited tax dollars we have, you can not take public money and give it to private schools and hope to meet the obligations we have in the future," Nixon said.

Hulshof's plan includes bringing in 1,500 math and science teachers, creating online opportunities for degrees and creating a pre-employment training program, according to his Web site. Baker said Hulshof has proposed $70 million in new state spending and said it would cover the congressman's priorities.

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