Senate approves higher cuts to community colleges

This week the Senate approved its version of the FY2018 budget, which includes a 9% cut to community colleges.

This is up from the 6.58% cut proposed by the House earlier this session. This means the final cut will be decided in Conference Committee and will be somewhere between 6.58% and 9%.

In an interesting turn of events surrounding the budget this week, a group of Senators rallied against Senate leadership and voted for a $45 million increase that would fully-fund the K-12 formula. The formula has never been fully-funded, and it’s extremely rare for members of the Senate to openly oppose leadership.

The House also approved fully-funding the K-12 formula, which would trigger a funding mechanism for early childhood education.

This means there is much less room to negotiate increases in other areas of the budget, such as higher education.

Despite this, House Budget Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick said on the floor that he wants to treat higher education equitably. Rep. Fitzpatrick specifically referred to collaborative projects that fall outside of core funding for colleges and universities.

These special projects have been a point of contention, as they further offset the parity in funding between Missouri’s 2-year and 4-year institutions. 

Next, a delegation made up of half Senate and half House members will be chosen to form the Conference Committee and negotiate the differences between the two versions of the budget.

This is expected to happen next week, as the budget has to be passed by May 5.
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