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House supplemental budget causes concerns among Democratic House members

The Missouri house of representatives has voted 114-11, for an emergency supplemental spending bill that would distribute billions of dollars in federal pandemic relief funds to local public-school districts as well as Missouri’s Medicaid program.

This bill is primarily using the stimulus funds that were released by the federal government. State Rep. Ingrid Burnett, D-Kansas City emphasized the need to get the funds out to the school districts as soon as possible.

“If we don't get those funds out to the school districts by the 24th of March, they go away,” she said. “And those school districts are counting on those funds to catch up from all of the expenses they had responding to the pandemic.”

Burnett mentioned how the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is the pass-through agent of funds, and can’t dictate where they go. They are, however responsible for making sure they got distributed equitably.

According to the U.S Department of Education, Missouri school districts await a total of $1.9 billion in federal aid. If not appropriated by the March deadline, this installment of COVID-19 relief funds will return to the federal treasury.

Rachel Schnelle is a senior journalism student studying Radio Convergence Reporting. She is an anchor and reporter for KBIA. She can be reached at rescm4@umsystem.edu