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Governor Nixon asks for educators’ support in bill veto

Governor Jay Nixon addressed hundreds of educators Tuesday at a conference about strengthening education in Missouri.

Nixon urged them to support him and help sustain his veto of a bill that could take scholarships away from students who’s parents might have come to the country illegally.

Students start qualifying for A+ scholarships in high school, and the scholarship grants them two years tuition at any community college or technical school in Missouri.

The bill would impact students with federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival, or DACA, status. These students have parents who came to the country illegally so they are undocumented immigrants but have deferred deportation.

The governor vetoed the bill in early July and he hoped educators could follow in his footsteps to oppose it for the next veto session.

Kristel Barr has been in education for almost 20 years and she’s currently the Director of Secondary Services at Raymore-Peculiar School in Kansas City.

She said the conference and the governor’s remarks had a clear message of “doing whatever it takes for every child and not just having a certain amount of kids meet success but all means all which means meeting their dream whatever that dream is.”

Nixon said he believes the bill would punish innocent students who have gone above and beyond.

“Kids have worked hard in high school to keep their grades up, go to school, to keep their community service,” he said. “To then say ‘alright once you do that, after you qualify we’re going to take that away from you:’ I think that is not fair and not the right policy for our state.”

Those who support the legislation said it would provide more money for legal Missouri residents, but local educators feel in the fight to educate children, people and lawmakers have become divided on how they think that’s supposed to happen.

“I think if we really kept the focus too all means all and we would fund what we believe in, we would get a lot further,” said Barr.

Lawmakers have also added a few words to the Missouri Budget Bill that would require undocumented students to pay international tuition.

The Department of Higher Education and lawmakers are still debating this language and deciding whether or not it is legal.

But lawmakers could still override the governor’s veto of Senate Bil 224 in September’s session.

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