School leaders respond to state budget unveiling - FOX 5 KRBK is Springfield MO source for News and Weather

School leaders respond to state budget unveiling

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(SPRINGFIELD, Mo.--01/23/18) Governor Eric Greitens' outlined a $28 billion budget plan containing a mixture of spending cuts for Missouri's public universities and colleges

"When you take what we’ve been cut in past years and adding onto it Missouri is fast approaching being the worst funded higher education system in the country," explains Dr. Hal Higdon, Ozarks Technical Community College Chancellor. 

Gov. Geitens budget speech contained some sobering news for those in the higher education community.

"I don’t think there’s a good reason for a cut because actually state revenues are up, but it’s about budget priorities and obviously higher education was not a priority."

The proposal caught OTC'S Chancellor Dr. Higdon a bit off guard.

"We were surprised that there was a substantial cut of this size 10% to higher education."

The governor's plan outlined a $68 million budget plan containing a reduction for public colleges and universities.

"Not funding community college is dooming our state to economic malaise and lack of growth and if we don’t think we have tax dollars today don’t fund your community colleges. There’ll be a lot tax dollars in the future."

Missouri State University's President Clif Smart took to Twitter to express his concern with the latest proposal. He says if passed, both services and tuition and fees will be impacted resulting in a reduction of more than $8.6 million dollars for the university.

Leaders say as they pay close attention to the budget proposal, they are preparing scenarios that could impact our workforce.

"When you make it less affordable which is what they state is doing then it’s going to be fewer nurses, fewer dental hygienist, fewer welders, fewer people on the street doing that work which moves our economy forward."

Dr. Higdon says he is heading to Jeff City to meet with legislative delegation to discuss the budget proposal.

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