Governor recommends increased appropriation

Dr. Julio León

Dr. Julio León

Jessica MacIntosh

In November, Gov. Matt Blunt asked all colleges and universities to prepare for a 10 to 12-percent cut in their budgets. But now, he has recommended a two-percent increase in the appropriations for Missouri Southern.

“It’s a welcoming switch,” said University President Julio León. “It’s a fairly large change.”

Dr. Terri Agee, vice president for business affairs, said it was not long ago Southern had to go through the process of possible cuts in the budget.

“This has made us very happy,” Agee said. “It’s terrific.”

León said at this point, they have to wait and see what the legislature does.

“There might be a possibility that two percent might be increased actually by the legislature itself depending on how the economy goes in the next two or three months,” he said.

He said they have to begin to prepare the budget.

“We have to make certain assumptions because we have to proceed basically on the assumption that we are going to get a two-percent increase from the state,” León said. “What we have to remember though is one or two percent amounts to a certain number of dollars, and it is an increase over a certain part of the total budget.”

León said the total budget is composed of what the University receives from the state and what they receive in revenue from student tuition.

“The part from the state makes up about 45 percent of our budget,” he said. “We’re getting a two-percent increase of 45 percent of our budget.”

Agee said the two-percent increase in the state appropriation would result in an increase of $409,585 for the University.

“We’re real pleased with that recommendation,” Agee said.

León said the appropriation is not much for the University.

“We already know about cost increases that are unavoidable that are going to be larger than that $400,000,” he said, “and the obvious thing is we are going to have to do something on the other side of it and that means tuition.”

He said they are trying to estimate how much tuition will increase for the next year.

León said they are unsure as to what the increase in appropriation will be used for.

León said they know utility costs will be approximately $200,000, retirement contributions will cost $150,000 and health insurance will increase by $125,000.

“Just those three items alone will use up that additional appropriation,” Agee said.

Agee said the costs for goods and services have increased.

“It’s (appropriation) just going to alleviate some of the challenges that that creates when it comes down to budget,” she said.

Agee said she could not be happier with the change.

“I’m really pleased that they have seen the value of our education,” she said.