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Governor Nixon's Proposed Higher Education Budget Will Implement 'Performance Funding' Plan

Public Institutions Must Meet Certain Criteria to Earn Funding
Gov Nixon State of the State '13
Governor Nixon delivers his State of the State address as Speaker Tim Jones looks on/credit: UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon proposed a $34 million dollar budget increase for higher education funding Monday night during his State of the State address. His proposal includes rewarding schools for meeting certain performance goals. KSMU’s Samuel Crowe has reaction from local administrators.

Nixon says his plan would hold each institution accountable for funding based on student achievement.

“Instead of funding schools based merely on what they’ve received in the past, we’ll tie new funding to specific performance goals – like increased student retention, higher graduation rates, and improved learning,” Nixon said.

Under Nixon’s proposal, the state would fund 35 percent of an institution’s operating costs. 90 percent of that funding would be automatic, and the other 10 percent would be based on meeting the performance goals. This 10 percent would use all new dollars.

Using all new dollars toward performance funding is not what the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Coordinating Board of Higher Education recommended. Dr. Hal Higdon is the Chancellor at Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield and serves on the committee. He says the Board approved the committee’s recommendation that only a certain proportion of new dollars be used toward performance funding. Higdon says he disagrees with Nixon’s decision to use all new dollars.

“We have a problem in this state in that we have a lot of inequity in our funding. OTC is the lowest funded community college in the state, Missouri State is one of the lowest funded in the state on the university level, and we feel like until we get some equity in our funding, it’s unfair to base all new dollars on performance when we’re not equitably funded to start with,” Higdon said.

Under Nixon’s proposal, OTC would receive a little more than $430,000 dollars, a 4.3 percent funding increase for meeting 80 percent of its performance goals.

Missouri Southern State University in Joplin would receive more than $779,000 dollars for meeting 80 percent of its performance goals. This would be a 3.4 percent funding increase. Bruce Speck, president of Missouri Southern, says performance funding is appropriate for public institutions.

“It is important for the public to understand that public funds are being allocated because of excellence in the performance of universities. I think that’s a good thing, in fact I think all of my colleagues think that’s a good thing,” Speck said.

Missouri State University would receive a little more than three million dollars, a 4.3 percent increase in funding. MSU met all five of its performance criteria.

MSU’s West Plains campus met 80 percent of its performance criteria and would receive $175,755 – a 3.4 percent increase in funding.

Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri would receive only $142, 674 dollars, 60 percent of its allotted $237, 790, because it met only three out of five of its performance criteria.

For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.