2015 legislative priorities
In the 2015 legislative session, Missouri State will advocate for three priorities:
Capital appropriation for maintenance and repair projects
Missouri State developed a Facilities Reutilization Plan (FREUP) in the 1990s to identify and fund the most pressing maintenance and repair needs for facilities on the Springfield and West Plains campuses. Many projects identified at the outset of this plan have still not been funded. Flat and reduced state appropriations during the past decade have caused the University’s deferred maintenance backlog to reach record highs ($114.6 million in fall 2014). Absent significant increases to its operating appropriation, Missouri State does not (and will not in the foreseeable future) have the means to address this backlog on its own.
Missouri State requests a capital appropriation to address four of its most imminent maintenance and repair projects:
- Ellis Hall ($7,581,818) (houses music programs on the Springfield campus)
- Missouri Hall ($1,547,890) (will contain classrooms, a computer lab, a conference room, a seminar room and administrative space for faculty and staff on the West Plains campus)
- Life safety improvements throughout the West Plains campus ($220,000)
- Hill Hall ($9,575,669) (houses teacher preparation and psychology programs on the Springfield campus)
Combine operating appropriations into a single appropriation
Missouri State’s funding for core operations is comprised of two items:
- $85,218,506 which represents the fiscal year 2015 operating base plus performance funding (section 3.220 of HB 2003 (2014))
- $1,325,000 for the fiscal year 2015 health initiatives/occupational therapy core (section 3.130 of HB 2003 (2014))
The health initiatives appropriation was approved for fiscal year 2014 as an ongoing core appropriation based upon the critical community needs for educated, skilled health care providers (section 3.136 of HB 3 (2013)). The health initiatives appropriation was approved to fund a Master of Occupational Therapy degree program at the Springfield campus and to provide funds to enhance the current nursing and respiratory care programs and initiate a new Associate of Applied Science in Allied Health-Certified Nursing Assistant program located at the West Plains campus.
Missouri State requests that these two items be combined into one ongoing appropriation.
Operating appropriation increase
In fiscal year 2009, the University received $87.3 million in state appropriations. In fiscal year 2014, MSU received $78.4 million in state appropriations, meaning its state appropriations decreased by $8.9 million (10.2 percent) over the past five years. During the same time period, the CPI increased 9.3 percent, the state retirement program (MOSERS) increased its contribution rate by 4.4% (increasing MSU’s contribution over $4 million annually), and MSU’s system enrollment went from 21,688 in fall of 2008 to 24,489 in fall of 2014, an increase of 2,801 students (12.9 percent).
For fiscal year 2015, the General Assembly appropriated Missouri State $86.5 million ($81,039,663 base plus $1,325,000 for health initiatives plus a performance funding increase of $4,178,843). The $1,325,000 appropriation has been withheld. Additionally, three percent of both the base appropriation and performance funding increase have been withheld as required by section 33.290, RSMo. Appropriations still do not reach the fiscal year 2009 level.
In sum, MSU’s student body has grown significantly while state appropriations have decreased significantly. To continue providing quality educational services to students, the University has found creative ways to increase revenues through other sources, including enrollment growth (which results in increased gross receipts of tuition and fees, but also increased expenses), private support, student fees, and increased international student enrollment.
The situation is not sustainable. The University is unable to continue covering the funding gap with alternative revenue sources and operating efficiencies.
The University’s operating appropriation request seeks a 3% ($2,556,555) performance funding increase and a $600,000 increase to address inequitable state funding. The CBHE’s “Alternative Operating Budget Recommendations” include a performance funding increase of approximately 5%. Regardless, the message is the same: a pattern should be established to reduce the funding gap for higher education year-over-year.
Missouri State requests an ongoing operating appropriation increase.