Missouri school districts fear ongoing bus cuts

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COLUMBIA - Gov. Eric Greitens proposed a $36 million dollar reduction in K-12 school transportation funding.

Brent Ghan, deputy executive director for the Missouri School Boards' Association, said the governor proposed a $3 million dollar increase to the overall K-12 budget, but the $36 million dollar bus cuts will impact the Missouri school districts much more.

"A few years ago the state provided 40 percent of the cost of school bus transportation, and this new cut will take us down 16 percent of cost, being provided by the state," Ghan said.

Ghan said Missouri school districts will have to make up for the budget cuts in transportation funding through the districts' local budgets. 

"School districts typically don't have a lot of extra money laying around to offset unanticipated expenses like this," Ghan said. "So they may look at various options cutting, spending from schools supplies, to technology, to bus routes."

Michelle Baumstark, community relations specialist for Columbia Public Schools, said the amount of state funding for school transportation continues to decline each year. She also said to remember the budget is not final. 

"This is not a state budget yet," Baumstark said. "The governor's proposal is still very important when it comes to making the proposal a state budget, but it still has to go through legislative process first."

Ghan said Missouri schools will handle the bus cuts differently, varying from district to district.