The Missouri State University Board of Governors last week approved a budget increase of $10 million for the next fiscal year. But following Governor Jay Nixon’s announcement Tuesday of plans to withhold money from higher education, the university will lose its expected $4 million in state appropriations. KSMU’s Anna Thomas reports on the board’s initial plans to deal with the withholdings.
With the fiscal year beginning July 1st, Beverly Miller, chair of the Board of Governors, says it is difficult to plan ahead before events like these. But she says the board is confident in how to handle the situation.
“We’ve been a very conservative spending university, and have a very good plan. So that these things don’t become catastrophic, it just means some realigning and looking at the budget to see what we can do,” Miller said.
As of this time, the board is sticking with its initial plan to increase pay for faculty and staff by 1.5%. However, many other decisions will have to wait until after the veto session in September. That’s when lawmakers meet to possibly override Nixon’s vetoes of bills granting various tax breaks, which in part prompted the Governor’s budget withholdings. In the meantime, the Board of Governors will delay the restoration of the operating budget for cost centers, or for the various university departments.
“Each department is going to have to, you know, tighten up a little bit so that they’re working under a little less budgeted money right now,” Miller said.
Miller adds that the university’s fall enrollment numbers will also play a large part in the flexibility of the budget, considering the school made a pledge not to raise undergraduate tuition this year.
“Our hope is, and all indicators show, that our enrollment is going to be up again this year, and so, that will make up for that difference,” Miller said.
The board will continue to consider options for reducing the budget deficit while it waits for the results of the veto session. Its next meeting is July 31st.