September 24, 2012

FY 2014 budget request approved by Coordinating Board for Higher Education

The Coordinating Board for Higher Education approved the Department of Higher Education’s budget request for fiscal year 2014 on September 5.  The core request for all institutions was based on their fiscal year 2013 actual receipts, which for the University of Missouri System was $398 million. While a number of additional funding requests were submitted by UM and other institutions, state departments were again asked to refrain from submitting any request for “new decision items” that would require additional general revenue from the state.  State Budget Director, Linda Luebbering has noted in public comments that the state will be dealing with at least a $220 million budget deficit, due to one-time funds used in previous years that will no longer be available.

The CBHE also approved capital request priorities for the state’s public institutions, including funding the remaining projects from the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative (LCDI).  The bulk of the remaining projects are UM projects. 

In addition to the LCDI projects, the CBHE approved each institution’s top capital priority, including Lafferre Hall at MU, the School of Medicine Renovation/Health Sciences building at UMKC, the Chemistry/Biological Sciences Renovation at Missouri S&T, and the Benton & Stadler Hall Renovation and Addition at UMSL.  

Joint Committee on Education prepares for fall hearings on higher education funding

The Joint Committee on Education met on September 11 to hear a report on performance funding in higher education and to announce plans for three hearings across the state this fall to gather public input.

The Committee, chaired by Senator David Pearce (R-Warrensburg), is charged with developing recommendations for a funding formula in 2013 that can be put into place for the FY2015 budget cycle. The Committee is also exploring the notion of performance-based funding models and heard a report from its executive director, Dr. Stacey Pries, about the progress several states are making with such formulas. The Committee announced plans to conduct hearings on September 25 in Trenton, October 23 in Warrensburg, and November 14 in Rolla.

Coordinating Board Endorses Tobacco Tax

At its September 5 meeting, the Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE) passed a resolution in support of Proposition B, an initiative to raise taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products. The Proposition will appear on the November 6th ballot and would raise Missouri’s tobacco tax to 90 cents per pack from its current 17 cents. Missouri’s tobacco tax is currently the lowest in the nation.

The CBHE resolution states, in part, “This initiative would increase funding for higher education by approximately $84 million annually. The CBHE further endorses provisions of the measure to devote 25 percent of the proceeds for higher education to prepare future health care workers…”

Proposition B would specifically direct the increased revenue to education and health. Twenty percent of the proceeds would go toward smoking cessation and prevention. Fifty percent would fund public schools and thirty percent would fund public colleges and universities. As indicated in the CBHE statement, twenty five percent of the higher education funding would be dedicated to training new health professionals for the state.

To read the text of Proposition B, click here. To read the CBHE press release, click here.

Governor, lawmakers tour MU School of Nursing to see Caring for Missourians dollars at work

Governor Jay Nixon came to MU on September 20 to tour areas of the Sinclair School of Nursing and announce new grants to the school in Columbia and several other nursing programs across the state. He was joined by Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), Representative Mary Still (D-Columbia), and MU Chancellor Brady Deaton for a tour led by Judith Miller, Dean of the School of Nursing. The group toured several areas of the School that were renovated or improved with funding provided by the Caring for Missourians initiative.

Governor Nixon speaks at the Sinclair School of Nursing Sept. 20. Others in the background include state Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), Dean of the Sinclair School of Nursing Judith Miller, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton, and Representative Mary Still (D-Columbia).

Federal Relations Update

Congress has adjourned until after the November elections. Last week, the House and Senate passed a six-month continuing resolution that would fund the federal government through March 27, 2013 at levels agreed upon by the Budget Control Act.

The House and Senate have also been working to pass a new 5-year Farm bill, which expires on September 30. Because of the Congressional recess, many of the provisions in the farm bill will be forced to expire on September 30. Universities are affected by this legislation, as the bill typically reauthorizes agricultural research and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, among other provisions.

Before Congress adjourned, UM President Tim Wolfe and Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl Schrader visited Washington D.C. on September 18 and 19 to meet with Congressional delegation members and education officials.

Their visit focused on the importance of federal support for the University of Missouri System, basic research, and financial aid. Wolfe and Schrader’s trip included meeting with Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter and Under Secretary of Commerce David Kappos.

UM President Tim Wolfe (left) and Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl Schrader (center) with U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (right).

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill speaks to business and civic leaders in St. Louis

The St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association (RCGA) hosted U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill at their Regional Collaboration Center September 7, as a part of its 2012 Public Policy Speaker Series. Among the over 100 business and civic leaders in attendance was UMSL Chancellor Thomas George, who is also a member of the RCGA board.

Claire McCaskill (left) is greeted by UMSL Chancellor Tom George (right). 

Missouri S&T student’s research showcased in Washington D.C.

Casey Burton, a senior chemistry major at Missouri University of Science and Technology, was selected by the Council on Undergraduate Research to showcase his research in Washington D.C. at the Posters on the Hill day earlier this year.

Burton was one of 74 undergraduates from across the country selected to share his research with lawmakers and policymakers in Washington D.C. Burton developed a technique for detecting certain metabolites in urine samples which could lead to a simpler and more accurate way to test for prostate cancer.

Click here for the entire announcement of Burton’s visit.

Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) (right) with Missouri S&T senior Casey Burton (left) at the 2012 Posters on the Hill day.