Missouri Governor Jay Nixon reinforced some already-stated education policy goals Thursday in a St. Louis County visit ahead of Monday's State of The State address, and also discussed school security in a visit to Oak Brook Elementary School in the Parkway School District.
After meeting with district administrators in private and then visiting an Early Education classroom, he talked in the school's library of creating a "seamless" path of education from Pre-K programs to college. Gov. Nixon said he would request "additional resources" to fund early education programs, noting the connection between Pre-K and success later in life. He did not identify a dollar amount, but called it a "smart investment with a very big return."
He restated a desire to see Missouri extend the academic year, citing the state's ranking as having fourth shortest school year, and wants to push for statewide access to the A+ scholarship program, which pays the first two years of tuition and fees at any two public year college or technical school in Missouri.
Students at more than 400 high schools in Missouri already qualify for the program, including most in the St. Louis area. Students at University City High School qualify for the program, but their counterparts at Clayton High School and Maplewood Richmond Heights Senior High School do not.
When asked by Patch after his prepared remarks if the issue of school security would come up in his address Monday, Governor Nixon did not lay out specifics but said there would be attention paid to the mental health side of the question.
He has already come out in opposition to legislation which would allow school staff with a concealed weapons permit to carry a weapon in schools.
With an eye on what the legislature might consider on the issue of school security, Parkway officials Thursday confirmed that a meeting scheduled for Jan. 31 will take place with other members of the "Safe Schools Partnership", a coalition of school districts and law enforcement agencies, to discuss issues related to funding additional school security measures.