State cuts cost education

Jesse O. Walls

Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed or froze more than $1.1 billion in state spending on June 24, cutting jobs and withholding from programs that benefit colleges and schools. The cuts, which went into effect July 1, are meant to help balance the budget by ensuring spending does not exceed available revenue, however it will affect local colleges, including Crowder.

“We had some capital improvement projects in a bill that got vetoed,” said Dr. Jennifer Methvin, president of Crowder College, “so there was $375,000 that was earmarked for our Cassville center to do some work on that facility. That money would have had to have been matched, we would have had to have raised $375,000 to make it $750,000, and we could have done a lot of great work we want to do on the Cassville campus. That’s gone, that’s been vetoed, that won’t happen.”

Nixon also vetoed a $6 million equity adjustment for community colleges, which would have been approximately $245,764 for Crowder. Unless the veto is overturned by the state legislature, Crowder will not receive these funds.

Other funds were restricted, which means there is a chance it will be released at a later date. Capital improvement money for the Hickey Building in Webb City, which equaled $375,000, is one of those items, as well as a 6% increase to core funding, said Dr. Jim Cummins, vice president of finance.

“We were very conservative in our budgeting,” said Dr. Cummins, “so the cuts to operating funding will not be too significant. For the capital money, we will have to wait and see on Webb City, and we will have to raise more from donors in Cassville if we want to renovate or add to that campus.”

Crowder is not the only college in the area to be affected. According to the Joplin Globe, Nixon also withheld $1.5 million in matching money for construction on the Missouri Southern State University campus in Joplin, and $43 million in performance funding increases that would have benefited all of Missouri’s four-year universities and community colleges.

“Crowder College has been very smart,” said Dr. Methvin. “They have always budgeted very conservatively, because we do live in a state where funds can be restricted even after they are approved. It would have been wonderful to have this funding … but we’re still able to serve our students well, even in these tough times.”