By Roger McKinney

rmckinney@joplinglobe.com

The Missouri Southern State University men’s soccer program and the Child Development Center are among the victims of budget cuts announced Thursday by university President Bruce Speck.

The cuts to the two programs will result in the loss of four full-time employees and one part-time employee.

Other measures announced by Speck include a hiring freeze and a moratorium on overtime pay.

Gov. Jay Nixon on Wednesday announced an agreement with Missouri’s public, four-year colleges and universities in which the institutions would receive the same appropriation they received in fiscal 2009 and the institutions would not to raise tuition or fees during the 2009-2010 fiscal year. That plan is subject to approval by the Legislature.

The university board approved deficit spending of $2.6 million in the current budget, Speck said.

Speck said the exact amount of savings from the cuts depends on several variables, but that it should amount to at least $500,000.

Cuts already in place include having the men’s and women’s basketball teams travel on one chartered bus rather than two.

A travel moratorium for faculty and students also had previously been announced.

Men’s soccer coach Kiley Cirillo broke the news to the team Thursday.

“It was the toughest meeting I’ve ever had,” Cirillo said. He said he’s trying to help team members determine where they want to transfer.

Cirillo said he just finished his sixth season as soccer coach at Southern. He played for the team from 1997-2000. The program began in 1976.

Despite Thursday’s announcement, Cirillo said he’s grateful to Southern for giving him the opportunity to do something he loves.

A news release announcing the cuts said that scholarships of student athletes on the soccer team would be honored by the university.

The men’s soccer team has been a member of the Southwest Soccer Conference. The other athletic programs at MSSU are part of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.

The Child Development Center will close at the end of the semester, Speck said. He said it provided child care for faculty, staff and students.

Speck said the Child Development Center has been heavily subsidized by the university. He said that if it were to be made self-sustaining through fees, it would be out of the cost range for area day-care centers.

The center currently has about 30 children, and is used as a field experience for students in the university’s teacher education and early childhood education programs.

“We’re saddened with it,” said Glenn Coltharp, dean of Southern’s education department. “This has been a great service to the community and the university.”

Speck said the decisions were not easy ones.

“There was no joy in the hallways,” he said.





More cuts?



According to the news release, other possible cost-cutting measures being considered include adding an employee contribution to health insurance, across-the-board pay reductions and adjusting teaching load requirements for faculty.

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