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Mo. Education Officials, National Guard Brace For Shutdown Cuts

Creighton Hayes, Jessica Mensch
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) - Missouri state departments are planning for trouble after Congress failed to avoid a partial shutdown of the federal government Monday night.

One state department that will face potentially severe consequences is the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

“The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has informed schools that they may not be getting their federal payment, which would normally go out around the 17th or 18th of the month,” said Missouri State Budget Director Linda Luebbering in an interview before the shutdown began.

In addition to the department not being able to provide schools with the necessary funding, it may see a temporary cut in staff. Under law, federally funded departments may not employ “non-essential” persons during a government shutdown.

“We would have to make a decision as a leadership team as to who is [essential] and needs to stay and who we can just no longer pay,” said Sarah Potter, a spokeswoman for the department.

Potter had no estimate as to how many of the department’s staff would be furloughed or exactly how much money would be withheld from public schools.

A spokesman for the Department of Higher Education said Monday that the department did not anticipate any problems if a shutdown occurs and ensures that all student loans are grants will remain intact.

Other state departments, such as the Missouri National Guard, will face less severe challenges.

“The Missouri National Guard will respond to state emergency duty missions regardless of a government shutdown situation,” said Public Affairs Officer Tamara Spicer.

The guard would also still continue missions related to mobilization support, sexual assault and response support, suicide awareness support and military funeral honors.

Spicer said they are still evaluating which programs will be deemed non-essential and thus discontinued in the case of a shutdown. Officials from several other state departments were unavailable for comment.

Luebbering said the state will not make up for the loss of federal funds with state money.

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