Governor likes lawmakers’ education spending

While Gov. Jay Nixon had some strong words to say about portions of the $25 billion state budget that Missouri lawmakers passed this week, he seemed pleased with their education spending plan.

“The budget includes a $25 million increase for higher education, through the outcomes-based funding model my administration developed in collaboration with our Higher Education institutions,” the governor told reporters Friday morning, in his Capitol office.

In the budget, Jefferson City’s Lincoln University is to receive a total of $17,308,982 — $15,757,777 from general revenue and another $1,551,205 from the Lottery Proceeds Fund.

Linn State Technical College, Missouri’s only two-year school with a statewide mission, was listed at $4,570,639 total, $4,150,111 from general revenue and $420,528 from the Lottery fund.

“We have been treated fairly,” Linn State President Don Claycomb said Friday afternoon. “I have not had an opportunity to go through the entire higher education budget.

“But, that’s my initial reaction.”

Lawmakers also set aside $5.05 million to all state-supported higher education schools “for funding based on improved outcomes, with the funding amount for each two- and four-year public higher education institution based on improvement on specified performance measures.”

And that money is to be in addition to the basic budget allocations given to each school.

Claycomb said all schools are waiting to see how the performance funding money will be distributed.

“In general terms, we (at Linn State) believe in performance funding,” he explained. “We believe that performance funding should be awarded, based on the law and what the mandates are for each institution, and the mission of each institution, and the institution’s contribution to the state of Missouri.

“And those vary from institution to institution.”

No one from Lincoln was available to comment for this story.

Nixon also told reporters: “I would note that the General Assembly followed my recommendation to provide an increase of $100 million for our K-12 schools.

“Here in Missouri, public education is a vital public service. It’s a value we all share, and nothing will have a greater impact on our children’s future and on our state’s future, than the commitment that we have now and in the future, to their education.”

Even though they’re not spending as much on Missouri’s elementary and secondary classes as predicted when the current school-aid formula was written in 2005, lawmakers noted during this week’s budget debates, state government still is paying a record $3.075 billion into the formula — about 38 percent of all general revenue spending.

The state Constitution requires the General Assembly to “set apart (no) less than twenty-five percent of the state revenue ... to the support of the free public schools.”

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