The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 28, 2013

Educators, hospital officials praise governor’s proposals

Proposals by Gov. Jay Nixon to increase spending for education and to expand the Medicaid program in Missouri attracted support Monday from several Joplin area officials.

A budget that would increase education spending by $150 million was proposed by the governor in his annual State of the State address. Nixon also called for expanding Medicaid as allowed under federal health care reforms and for streamlining the state’s economic incentive programs.

A plan to add $34 million to the state’s budget for higher education was welcomed by Bruce Speck, president of Missouri Southern State University, and Alan Marble, president of Crowder College.

Both presidents, who had met with the governor earlier, pointed out that the increase would be the first after several years of flat funding or funding cuts.

Speck said he was pleased with the governor’s plan to tie the funding to performance, saying the practice had been successfully vetted in other states.

“It’s a positive for higher education,” he said.

Marble also praised the governor’s plan to expand to all public high schools the A+ Scholarship program, which covers costs for high school students to attend community college.

The governor also proposed spending $17 million more for early childhood education and a total of $100 million more for K-12 education to fund more teachers, equipment and a longer school year.

Nixon’s remarks “show he’s been listening carefully to educators from across the state,” said C.J. Huff, superintendent of Joplin schools.

“Research shows the need for further early childhood education as our best opportunity” for additional gains in education in the state, he said.

Huff said increased funding also is important to ensure that schools can maintain their buildings, and provide and maintain the needed technology infrastructure.

“The age of school facilities across the state is really showing, and it’s a real challenge to come up with the funding to bring them up to modern standards, so that’s welcome,” he said.

Though Nixon’s call for expanding Medicaid was criticized in the Republican response by House Speaker Tim Jones, it was supported by Joplin area hospital officials.

“The expansion is very important, not just for health systems, but for individuals in Missouri,” said Paula Baker, CEO of Freeman Health System in Joplin. “These are working people who are trying to carry their own weight but don’t make enough money to access the health care they need.”

She said the Medicaid expansion was intended, under federal health care reforms, to offset “some of the many reimbursement cuts that hospitals are facing.”

“So it would be helpful to hospitals, but it would also be helpful to people who aren’t getting preventative care or screenings and then end up at the emergency room when their illness has escalated to a serious condition,” she said.

Mike Peters, a vice president with Sisters of Mercy Health System, agreed, saying the hospital system “is supportive of the governor’s position” on Medicaid.

“We are seeing a reduction in our Medicare payments,” he said. “Those cuts were to be offset by the expansion of Medicaid. Barring that expansion, hospitals will receive the cuts from Medicare, but not see a reduction of uninsured patients in the emergency room.”

Nixon also touched on efforts to attract more jobs to the state.

More funding for higher education would help to make sure that workers have top-rate skills, said Jasen Jones, executive director of the Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri.

Rob O’Brian, president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, also noted the importance of education in economic development. And, he said, reforms to the state’s economic development incentive programs should include changes “to make them more focused and beneficial to business.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Ballot issues dominate GOP event

    A maze of campaign yard signs lined the sidewalk at Big Spring Park, leading up to a line of local candidates for public office with rolled-up sleeves shaking hands with potential voters.

    July 24, 2014

  • Mike Pound: It’s time for some football

    The arrests, the announced suspensions and the contract disputes can mean only one thing: Somebody is ready for some football.

    July 24, 2014

  • Landfill opponents seek answers

    The Baxter Springs High School auditorium was filled with hundreds of Cherokee County residents Thursday night as Galena city officials answered questions and listened to comments regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 24, 2014

  • Hanaway says leadership missing under Gov. Nixon

    When Republican gubernatorial hopeful Catherine Hanaway walked into the banquet room at Granny Shaffer’s Restaurant this week, she was greeted by some of Joplin’s more prominent business leaders.

    July 24, 2014

  • Neosho athletes bring home silver

    For 19-year-old Dominque Dechant, it was the trip of a lifetime. She and three other athletes from Neosho traveled last month to Newark, New Jersey, as part of the Missouri Special Olympics girls basketball team.

    July 24, 2014

  • r072414msw.jpg VIDEO: Carterville company expands to third generation

    What began as Ray “Mac” McCoy’s side job in his home 55 years ago has grown not only in square footage and reach, but in generations. This summer, a third generation took over the reins of MSW — Mac’s Specialty Woodwork — that now exceeds 90,000 square feet and creates custom furniture for chain restaurants coast to coast.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Shrine Bowl band, cheerleaders, players arrive in Pittsburg this week

    Band members were the first Kansas Shrine Bowl participants to arrive at Pittsburg State University this week.

    July 24, 2014

  • Galena council rescinds landfill decisions

    The Galena City Council voted Wednesday to rescind decisions it made two weeks ago regarding a proposed landfill at Riverton.

    July 23, 2014

  • Miami council waives fees for barbecue event

    The Miami City Council voted Tuesday to waive $3,750 in usage fees for Miami Elks Lodge No. 1320 for an upcoming barbecue championship at the Miami Fairgrounds.

    July 23, 2014

  • Carthage prepares for Marian Days

    The 37th annual Marian Days celebration will start in two weeks, and planning is well under way for the event that will bring tens of thousands of Catholics of Vietnamese descent to Carthage.

    July 23, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Amendment 8 in Missouri proposes a special lottery ticket to help fund state veterans homes. How will you vote?

For it.
Against it.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter