Jefferson City, MO 55° View Live Radar Thu H 68° L 47° Fri H 66° L 45° Sat H 70° L 46° Weather Sponsored By:

LU Curators adopt "flat' budget for 2014-15

LU Curators adopt "flat' budget for 2014-15

June 13th, 2014 in News

Lincoln University expects to spend a little more than $35 million in the 2014-15 business year that begins July 1.

That's about $1 million more than was budgeted for the current financial year that ends on June 30.

"The reason that it increased from the prior year is, basically, due to our estimate for an increase in state appropriations," Controller Sandy Koetting told the board during Thursday's curators meeting.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said Wednesday he intends to finish going through the budget and sign it into law "within the next 10-12 days" - before the state government budget year begins July 1. He declined to say whether he'll veto or withhold money to balance the budget.

In past years, Nixon generally has withheld spending authority, and then allowed at least some of that money to be released for spending later in the budget year as revenues improved.

And, historically, those withholds have come from education.

"Obviously, we are not sure what the governor is going to do at this point," Koetting said Thursday, "so we're waiting for any word from the governor's office on appropriations."

She noted lawmakers approved an increase in the state's match with federal land grant funds, "which is about $485,000."

Lawmakers also said that 90 percent of any revenue increases for higher education would be directed to the campuses based on their performance in meeting certain criteria.

But even those expected increases could be blocked if Nixon thinks the state's revenues won't be enough to cover the costs, , Koetting cautioned.

Still, she noted, in April the curators approved a new "wellness fee" for students to help pay for outfitting a new recreation center to be built near the corner of Locust and East Atchison streets. That fee should raise about $410,000.

Although based primarily on a "flat" plan from the current budget, Koetting said the proposal curators approved includes some major money shifts, after implementing changes spurred by new President Kevin Rome.

Curators unanimously approved the operating budget and the separate $5.647 million auxiliary budget.

Koetting said it appears LU will end this business year spending more than it takes in - largely because of the statewide drop in Lottery and Casino gambling revenues earmarked for education.

But, she said, the difference can come from the reserve funds, with no major problem.

"We're going to make the best and the most of whatever we have," Rome said after the meeting. "I think we've accomplished a lot within this last year, with the resources we've had."

Last year, curators were told, Lincoln raised $607,981 from 1,244 donors.

This year, donations came from 1,353 donors and - thanks to a donation of more than $500,000 from one anonymous donor - LU has received $1.1 million in donations.

Officials hope they can make that $1.2 million before the business year ends in just over two weeks.

"It was my goal to raise at least $1 million in my first year," Rome said Thursday. "I'm happy that we achieved that - but that's just a start.

"And it shows that we can raise money and people will give to Lincoln. We just have to go out and tell our story."