After passing 7-3 in the Missouri Senate Education Committee on April 11, Senate Bill 437 will introduced to the entire Missouri Senate during upcoming weeks.
SB 437 creates a funding formula for higher education throughout Missouri.
University President Troy Paino said he is unsure about how this bill will affect Truman State if it passes. He said the formula illustrates that higher education is underfunded throughout Missouri, and he is unsure how the formula will be applied to the appropriations process due to this lack of funding.
There are currently four weeks left in the legislative session, and Paino said if the bill is not signed before the session ends, a funding formula will not be created for fiscal year 2014 and funding will continue to be allocated as it has been during the past. He said a funding formula bill might be introduced during the next legislative session if SB 437 does not pass.
“My hope is that if we get through this legislative session and no bill has been signed into law, we step back and we have an opportunity to work together to try to find consensus on what we think is the best way to move forward,” Paino said. “I would like a formula that is sensitive to the different missions of the institutions.”
The funding formula outlined by SB 437 originally was created by the Joint Committee on Education, a Congressional committee composed of Missouri senators and representatives, said Stacey Preis, Joint Committee Executive Director. The final plan released by the committee allocates 40.61 percent of funding for four-year masters level universities’ operating costs will come from state funding for fiscal year 2014. Ninety percent of this funding is based off factors such as research, public service expenditures and credit hours.
The remaining 10 percent is performance-based and includes factors such as freshman to sophomore retention rates, six-year graduation rates and institution-specific missions.
“It was an important step to have the committee approve the bill,” said Senator David Pearce, sponsor of the bill. “It’s important that we continue moving forward with performance funding.”
If SB 437 is passed by the Missouri legislature, it will take effect Aug. 28, and the formula will be used to allocate funding starting fiscal year 2014, Pearce said.
At the April 14 Student Senate meeting, Student Senate President Aaron Malin said that if this bill passes, it will not allow Truman to fulfill its liberal arts mission by
allocating funding more on enrollment than performance.
“This is the bill that will destroy Truman,” Malin said. “That’s not an exaggeration. You should be alarmed.”
Pearce said he encourages people wishing to submit feedback about SB 437 to contact their local senator.
“Truman State is a great university and I look forward to hearing their input on this,” Pearce said.