Higher Education | St. Louis Public Radio

Higher Education

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) says next year he's going to propose a Higher Education budget that's "substantially" higher that it's been in recent years.

Nixon made that promise Monday to a group of Higher Education officials meeting in Jefferson City, though he won't say yet how high his proposed budget hike will be.  He also suggested that his higher budget proposal could be rendered moot if this year's failed income tax cut legislation is revived next year.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Even with a long list of qualities to live up to, and the strife that preceded the departure of the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, the presidency of Saint Louis University is a plum assignment that will draw dozens of applicants, a key figure in the search said Monday.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Members of a Missouri House interim committee tasked with improving government efficiency complained Wednesday about not having access to the full budgets of any of the state's universities.

The committee was examining the Department of Higher Education.  Republican committee member Kathie Conway of St. Charles says the department's annual budget requests to the Governor's office do not contain line-by-line expense requests she says the committee needs to do its job.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: After reading the president’s “Plan to Make College More Affordable” I couldn’t help but recall the scene in the “Wizard of Oz” in which the Wizard awards the stalwart travelers symbols of their true characteristics. The Cowardly Lion receives a medal, for he truly was brave. The Tin Man a heart, for he truly was compassionate. And the Scarecrow gets a diploma because even though he actually was quite intelligent, he just didn’t have the college degree to prove it.

Educators Make Final Push Against Tax Cut Bill

Sep 9, 2013
(Chris McDaniel/St. Louis Public Radio)

A group of educators criticized a tax cut bill today that could severely hinder schools in Missouri. They maintained that the bill, which Governor Jay Nixon vetoed in June, would cut revenue for the state by $800 million and result in reduced funding for education.

The superintendents from the Northwest, Washington and Hazelwood School Districts argued that the bill would have detrimental effects on their districts. Hazelwood superintendent Grayling Tobias said the bill could cause budget cuts for equipment and extracurricular activities, larger class sizes and fewer teachers.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Ah, the end of the academic year. Amid all the pomp, it is a good time to reflect on the circumstances surrounding college education. Higher education is under attack from many sides.  Let’s start with student debt.

Field of students at a graduation
j.o.h.n. walker | Flickr

The St. Louis Regional Chamber is launching a collaborative initiative to increase the percentage of the area’s workforce which has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Thirty percent of adults in the St. Louis region have at least a bachelor’s degree, ranking it 14th among the nation’s metropolitan areas.  That’s just behind Los Angeles and ahead of Houston, according to U.S. Census estimates.  Meanwhile, decades of slow population growth place St. Louis as the 19th most populated region.

Field of students at a graduation
j.o.h.n. walker | Flickr

Updated at 6:03 p.m. to include details on a House-Sen. joint committee's proposal to use performance-based criteria in a new Higher Ed. funding formula.

A joint House-Senate panel is recommending performance play a role in how much money Missouri’s colleges and universities get from the state each year.

Panel members on Monday released a proposed Higher Education funding formula, which would include performance measurement in such things as student enrollment/retention, the number of research programs at an institution, and public service to the surrounding community or state.  State Senator David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) chairs the Joint Committee on Education.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

A group of Missouri lawmakers is considering an overhaul of how the state’s colleges and universities are funded each year.

A first draft of recommendations was released today, and it includes basing 10 percent of an institution’s state funding on performance standards such as graduation rates for seniors and retention rates for freshmen and sophomores.  State Senator David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) chairs the Joint House-Senate Committee on Education.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Will be updated.

Missouri officials are awarding nine grants worth nearly $9 million to create so-called "Innovation Campuses" involving colleges and universities.

The program pairs universities and colleges with businesses to train students for jobs in high-demand fields. It also is aimed at helping students earn their degrees faster and graduate with less debt.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) has signed Missouri’s $24 billion budget into law, but he also sliced $15 million from next year’s spending plan.

Adam Procter | flickr

Missouri college students soon could find it a little easier to transfer credit hours among institutions.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation Thursday requiring public colleges and universities to formulate by July 2014 a core of 25 lower-level courses for which credit hours can be transferred among all public institutions.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Out-migration is costing St. Louis County money

More people are moving out of St. Louis County than moving in – and they’re taking money with them.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch cites Internal Revenue Service figures that show those who left the county between 2001 and 2010 earned on average $8,000 more than those who moved in. And about 52,000 more people left the county than moved in.

IndofunkSatish/via Flickr

Judge approves settlement in lawsuit over mental health care for the deaf

A federal judge has approved a settlement in a class action lawsuit brought against two Missouri state agencies on behalf of more than a thousand deaf residents.

Plaintiffs in the 2010 lawsuit alleged that the state departments of Mental Health and Social Services failed to provide adequate mental health care for deaf persons in crisis.

The departments were sued under the  Americans with Disabilities Act.

(via Flickr/david_shane)

The Missouri House has passed all 13 bills that make up the state’s $24 billion budget for FY 2013.

The process took longer than expected, because of the large number of Democrats who took issue with cutting funding to blind pensions and for not spending enough on K-12 schools.  Sara Lampe (D, Springfield) urged fellow lawmakers to look for other ways to balance the budget besides cutting services.

Flickr/david_shane

Missouri’s state budget for next year has received first-round approval by the State House. 

As promised, Republican leaders defunded a program that aids blind Missourians and used the money to erase Governor Jay Nixon’s proposed cuts to Higher Education. 

House Budget Chairman Ryan Silvey told the chamber he’s no longer willing to cut money from Missouri’s universities and community colleges:

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Budget writers in the Missouri House have approved their version of the 13 bills that make up the state’s budget for next year.

Committee members eliminated $28 million for a program that aids the blind, but then put $6 million back into it from another source.  Ryan Silvey (R, Kansas City) chairs the Budget Committee.

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Central Missouri teen sentenced to life with possibility of parole

Eighteen-year-old Alyssa Bustamante has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in the killing of her 9-year-old neighbor.

The Central Missouri teen was sentenced this morning in Cole County Circuit Court. She pleaded guilty in January to second-degree murder and armed criminal action in the October 2009 stabbing and strangling of her neighbor, Elizabeth Olten, in St. Martin’s, a small town west of Jefferson City.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

In the wake of a possible approximately 12.5 percent cut in higher education funding for fiscal year 2013, and ongoing discussion of tuition hikes and job cuts across the University of Missouri system in response, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has announced an a

(via Flickr/Adam Procter)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) is warning Missouri’s college administrators not to raise tuition to make up the difference in budget cuts he announced this week during his annual State of the State Address.

The governor wants to cut the state’s Higher Education budget by nearly $106 million, or 12.5 percent.  During his address Tuesday he indicated that he wants universities to leave tuition levels where they are.

(via Flickr/ilovebutter)

Reporting by WILL's Sean Powers was used in this story.

The trustees of the University of Illinois system have approved a 4.8 percent tuition hike for incoming freshmen at the system's three campuses.

The vote today means incoming freshmen will pay $532 more a year at the main campus in Champaign-Urbana, $468 more in Chicago, and $420 more in Springfield.

Flickr/JimBowen0306

Ill. unpaid bills top $4.2 billion in Comptroller's office

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says there are  even more bills piled up in other government departments. She said Wednesday the state's overall backlog is about $8.5 billion. That means organizations that provide services for the state, from businesses to hospitals to charity groups, must wait months to be paid for their work. Topinka's office is still paying bills that date back to Sept. 1 - four and a half months ago.

Adam Procter | flickr

Missouri's legislative budget leaders may not go along with Gov. Jay Nixon's proposed cuts to public colleges and universities.

Nixon has proposed a 12.5 percent reduction to higher education institutions for the next academic year.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer said Wednesday he does not intend to follow Nixon's recommendation. The Columbia Republican says the cut would be a huge blow to higher education.

(via Flickr/Adam Procter)

A task force is recommending that funding for universities and community colleges in Missouri be based in part on graduation rates and other performance-based criteria.

The recommendation was presented today in Jefferson City to the state’s Coordinating Board for Higher Education.  State Senator David Pearce (R, Warrensburg) chairs the Senate Education Committee.

(via Wikimedia Commons)

Mo. state auditor Tom Schweich says contracts between five state universities and former presidents may not be in the best interest of the schools, and some may violate provisions of state law.

(via Wikimedia Commons/Saluki wiki)

Faculty at Southern Illinois University's flagship campus in Carbondale will be voting later this month on whether to go on strike as part of a lingering contract dispute.

The Southern Illinoisan reports that the group representing tenured and tenure-track faculty at the 20,000-student school voted unanimously Thursday to seek a strike-authorization vote. That means the entire membership will vote Sept. 28 on whether a walkout is in order.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) wants to move Missouri’s universities and community colleges back to a performance-based funding model.

It would mark a return to the way business was once conducted.  Graduation rates and similar markers were used as a basis for funding public colleges in Missouri, but the system was dumped a decade ago during an economic recession.

The Missouri Senate has passed the state budget for next year.

The Senate’s $23.2 billion spending plan cuts the state’s higher education budget by 4.8 percent, and provides an additional $20 million for school bus funding.  Kurt Schaefer (R, Columbia) sponsored the budget bills in the Senate.

Several local gun stores are reporting an increased demand for tactical weapons and training.
(via Flickr/Foxtongue)

A judge has issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the Illinois State Police from releasing the names of registered gun owners in the state - something the agency doesn't want to do anyway.

The order was handed down Friday in Peoria. It is the latest chapter in a battle between the state's attorney general and police force over the release of names of the state's Firearm Owners Identification cardholders.

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