The latest proposed state spending plan would cut less money from the University of Missouri than earlier versions.
State lawmakers upset with the University’s response to protests last fall and related issues wanted to zero out its performance-based state aid, and cut money from its administration and Columbia campus.
A House and Senate conference committee has struck an agreement on a budget that would increase performance-based funding for all institutions, including MU, by 4-percent. It also would cut $3.8-million from the MU’s Administration – half of the cut proposed by the House.
It was the state House’s lawmakers who fought hardest to maintain some cut to MU’s administration. House Budget Committee Vice-Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick (R-Shell Knob) said many in his chamber didn’t want to back off of a cut completely.
“I voted against the cut, so did the budget chairman, I believe the Speaker voted against it and so did the majority leader, so when the body votes against the leadership en masse, that speaks volumes,” said Fitzpatrick.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kurt Schafer (R), whose district includes the Columbia campus, said the University worked to hit statutory markers to earn the performance-based funding, and said eliminating the increase in that for MU would have been more likely to hurt students than the cut to the administration.
“What we would hope is that money goes towards students and not salaries for administrators or anyone, frankly, who probably was involved in putting them in the position that caused this in the first place,” said Schaefer.
Many lawmakers still disapprove of MU’s response to protests on the Columbia campus last fall and subsequent issues involving Professor Melissa Click, but Representative Caleb Rowden (R), who also represents Columbia, thinks when the proposal comes to a vote, they can accept this.
“People will probably get up and continue to say their piece about some of the issues that they have,” said Rowden. “I think it’s gonna pass.”
With the 4-percent increase in performance-based funding, the state’s colleges and universities agreed not to increase tuition, even though that is a lesser increase than the 6-percent that was part of an earlier agreement struck between them and Governor Jay Nixon (D).
If the House and Senate votes for this plan it will go to Nixon.