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Nixon to Address Education Budget During MSU Visit

Gov Nixon State of the State '13
Governor Nixon during the 2013 State of the State address. Nixon will deliver his State of the State Address for 2014 on Jan. 21/Credit: UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Governor Jay Nixon’s latest tour of the state continues Wednesday with a stop in Springfield, where he’s anticipated to tout his proposed education agenda for 2014.

The Governor, who first called for $34 million for higher education through a performance-based funding model during last month’s State of the State Address, will echo that stance while on the Missouri State University campus.

Based on Nixon’s model, MSU is in line to receive another 4.3 percent in funding, or $3.3 million, after meeting each of its five performance criteria. The university’s West Plains’ campus is eligible for 3.4 percent in additional funding, after meeting only four of its goals.

Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield and Missouri Southern State University in Joplin each achieved four of five performance criteria, according to figures provided by Budget Director Linda Luebbering, while Crowder College in Neosho accomplished three of its goals.

MSU President Clif Smart tells KSMU he agrees with the performance-based model.

“We are believers that those universities that are graduating the most students, educating the most scientists, retaining students, spending money on teaching and research whose students pass licensing exams – those are the kinds of things that are being measured - ought to be rewarded for that,” said Smart.

Nixon’s comments Wednesday will come two days after the state’s Joint Committee on Education released its second draft for a higher education funding formula.

In a statement Monday, Committee Chairman Sen. David Pearce said that the old funding formula appropriated a flat percentage increase or decrease to each institution, and failed to meet the needs of the institutions evenly across the state.

“The new proposed model can be adapted to meet different funding environments or situations. It’s a rational basis for funding the state’s higher education institutions,” Pearce said.

Public comment on the proposal is open through Feb. 11, and a final report is due out Feb. 15. 

Nixon is scheduled to speak at 10:15 a.m. Wednesday in Room 313 of MSU’s Plaster Student Union. Within the past week, the Governor has made stops in Canton, Maryville, and St. Joseph to address both elementary and higher education funding as part of his proposed budget for 2014.