by Craig Stevenson, Director of Policy and Advocacy, Kids Win Missouri
On Wednesday, Governor Parson delivered the 2022 State of the State Address to a joint session of the Missouri General Assembly. The address was broadcasted on Facebook. In keeping with tradition, Governor Parson released his budget plan as he presented the State of the State address. Below are fast facts, or key takeaways as it relates to children and families from the request and speech.
- The Governor’s Budget Request for State Fiscal Year 2023 includes drawing down federal pandemic relief for child care providers and families. Missouri will have $700 million in child care relief funding to utilize during the next few years.
- Noting that Missouri teacher starting pay ranks last in the nation, Governor Parson recommended a $21.8 million grant program for a matching program to increase the minimum teacher salaries to $38,000 per year. The matching program would fund 70% of the cost with districts funding the remaining 30%.
- Governor Parson called for a $40 million investment to update the Children’s Division Case Management system, ensuring that frontline caseworkers have a 21st century system to serve our children in foster care.
- Among the special guests on-hand for the speech was the Paris FFA Club, which was selected as the National FFA Chapter of the Year.
- Beth Houf was recognized as an outstanding educator. Ms. Houf is the principal of Fulton Middle School and was recently named the National Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. This marks the first time a Missouri principal was recognized with the honor.
- Senator Lauren Arthur gave the Democratic response and said, “Let’s expand early childhood education to help more kids start school ready to learn and to help parents return to the workforce.”
- The budget proposal includes $420,000 for a new youth behavioral health liaison program that involves schools, the juvenile court system, and state agencies.
- Even though previously announced, details of the $400 million broadband plan were released, and it includes $250 million in grants to expand broadband, $30 million for cell towers and other funds would include assistance with affordability for families, telemedicine infrastructure, and a digital literacy campaign.
- Children and families may see benefits by other infrastructure investments proposed by Governor Parson ranging from drinking water, low-volume roads, and wastewater projects.
- The budget request includes more than $450 million in capital improvement projects at higher education institutions, using American Rescue Plan resources. These funds would go to two-and-four-year colleges and universities.