The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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April 29, 2013

Budget work under way at MSSU, Crowder

JOPLIN, Mo. — Administrators at Missouri Southern State University say they still don’t know what to expect in terms of funding from the state as they work to prepare a budget for fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1.

“I keep waiting every day to see if I can get some final numbers from the state, so we’re just in a wait-and-see mode,” said Rob Yust, vice president for business affairs. “The last thing I heard is we are going to receive some additional funds for next year, but I’m afraid to even put that into the budget at this time until we know for sure. As it stands right now, we are looking at an increase for next year, but we don’t know what that number is.”

Legislators have begun debate on the state budget, which must be sent to Gov. Jay Nixon by Friday, May 10. Yust said he expects to present MSSU’s budget for next year to the Board of Governors at its May 16 meeting, with the possibility that it could be readopted in June if Nixon makes any changes to appropriations for higher education.

At the board’s request, Yust said he also plans to provide versions of a budget that include pay raises for employees. He said he doesn’t expect that the budget will include program or staffing cuts, although it will likely be a tight budget.

“As everybody has known, our enrollment is down,” he said. “It has been for a couple of semesters, and that’s what we base the budget on, is current enrollment hours, so we already know it’s going to be a lean year.”

Officials at Crowder College in Neosho are also considering a budget for the upcoming fiscal year that is expected to be “tighter” than past years’ budgets, Jim Cummins, the vice president of finance, said last week during an initial look at the proposed budget with the Board of Trustees. There is not expected to be an increase in state funding next year for the college, he said.

Those in higher education in Missouri are keeping their eye on a newly proposed formula that could change the way state funding is calculated for colleges and universities.

The model, as proposed in Senate Bill 437, would provide funding to each of the state’s 13 public four-year institutions based in part on its costs as well as funding levels at institutions in peer states. Ten percent of each college or university’s appropriations would be performance-based, while another 10 percent would be tied to an institution’s job-placement rates of its graduates.

The model also proposes to allocate funding to each state community college separately. Currently, community colleges collectively receive a block of money that is then divided among them under another formula.

The model was developed by the Joint Committee on Education, which is chaired by Sen. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, and is under consideration by the state Senate. If it is approved by the Senate, it would move to the House of Representatives for consideration.

It is opposed by the Council on Public Higher Education, which represents the state’s public four-year institutions.

Yust said one reason why the model isn’t favored is that its performance-based funding allotment could come from institutions’ base funding.

“We’d like it to be new money and not taking money from our base and using that for performance funding,” he said.

Budget meetings

THE BUDGET COMMITTEE of the Board of Governors will likely meet at least once more to review the proposed budget for Missouri Southern State University for fiscal year 2014 before the board’s May 16 meeting, according to Rob Yust, vice president for business affairs. Both meetings will be open to the public.

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