The Missouri Senate endorsed a budget for education yesterday that included some cuts to K-12 schools and level funding to colleges and universities.

Missouri Senate Dias

The upper chamber chose to remove $50 million from K-12 that the House had included to fully fund the Education Department’s request.

Republican Appropriations Committee Chairman Dan Brown told his colleagues that the money extracted would go toward education transportation – $25 million – which has been financed at 17% in recent years, as well as other needs such as nursing care and health care for state employees.  Brown said the arrangement is needed to avoid a steep rise in healthcare premiums for state workers.

The Senate blueprint still increases K-12 funding by $48 million over what’s currently being spent and Brown said further negotiations with the House could secure more money.  The Senate passed the K-12 spending plan by a 25-8 margin with all but one of the nine Democrats voting no.

The chamber voted 31-1 to adopt the higher education blueprint which maintains current spending in the upcoming fiscal year that starts July 1st.

The plan includes emergency funding for two financially troubled institutions – Harris-Stowe University in St. Louis and Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.

The Senate and House will next go to conference to cobble together a final package for K-12 and higher education spending that’ll then go to both full chambers for a vote.