McCaskill and Education Groups Talk About Possible Cuts

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri National Education Association reacted Friday to statements by Senator Claire McCaskill regarding education cuts. With time running out on budget talks, local Missouri groups are hoping for the best. The deficit facing Representatives and Senators means budget cuts are expected to happen. If a deal to cut the $1.1 trillion dollar deficit is not reached, automatic cuts will be enacted on defense, housing, and education.

MNEA is working to protect education, so it's not hammered too hard if budget cuts are made in the coming weeks. According to MNEA, the state provides 31% of school funding, and school districts provide nearly twice as much. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the federal government only provides 8% of the total funding for education .

Chris Guinther, President of the MNEA, believes cuts to education hurts students and they cannot be made up. "We have a first grader for example. We only get one shot with first grade with that child and so what we know is that education cuts hurt kids. So we cut that first graders education in her first grade year and we can never make that up" said Guinther. She added, "We believe that those education cuts will never heal and we need to make sure that kids are kept in mind as the up coming budget decisions are made."

Senator Claire McCaskill says there's a variety of ways to reach a budget deal. Her office released a statement to KOMU Friday afternoon. It said, "Claire just won a hard fought reelection race in which her commitment to protecting and expanding educational opportunities for Missouri was front and center. She looks forward to keeping up her fight to get our fiscal house in order while protecting those opportunities for her kids, grandkids, and all of Missouri's students."

The U-S Congress is expected to meet next week to discuss the 2013 fiscal year budget.