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story.lead_photo.caption Gov. Mike Parson discusses released budget restrictions at a briefing Wednesday.

This article free to all readers because it includes information important to public safety and health in our community.

Gov. Mike Parson announced an additional $61.5 million for K-12 education in his briefing Wednesday.

The funds will be distributed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on a per-pupil basis.

"I will tell you I am very excited," Fulton Public Schools Superintendent Ty Crain said. "We're just excited by the fact that there is some coming."

Over the summer, the state announced $436 million in budget restrictions, including millions from education. For Fulton Public Schools, that amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars cut from last year and this year.

Every school district in Callaway County had to take the funding cuts into account when preparing for the current school year.

It's too soon to tell exactly how much local schools will get this time around, Crain said, but in a year of high expenses related to virtual learning and safety precautions, any additional or restored funding is appreciated.

"I definitely see this as a positive sign, but again, we're a long way from the end of 2020," Crain said.

The elementary and secondary education funds represent the majority of nearly $95 million in CARES Act funding that will flow through DESE, the Department of Health and Senior Services, the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Social Services.

Parson also announced $40 million of the $436 million he restricted earlier this year will be freed. The budget restrictions were outlined this summer as the government braced for the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and hit many state departments.

"When we evaluated the impact of COVID-19 on Missouri's economy and state revenues back in June, we had to make some difficult decisions to keep our budget balanced," Parson said during his Wednesday briefing. "Just like many of you Missouri families trying to budget and deal with the financial impacts of COVID-19, we took the same approach, cutting expenses where we had to."

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At the time of the restrictions, Parson promised to re-evaluate spending after the first quarter of fiscal year 2021.

Unemployment is not projected as high as it was before and state revenues have increased, Parson said.

"As a result of our Show Me Strong Recovery Plan, we are outpacing our budget forecast and recovering more jobs than the vast majority of other states," Parson said. "Thanks to this, we are now in a position to release some of the funding that was restricted earlier this year."

The released funds will go to programs focused on higher education, military communities, seniors and adults with developmental disabilities, as well as other initiatives and programs.

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