UM System to divvy up state funding, if tax-cut veto is upheld

Friday, August 30, 2013 | 8:19 p.m. CDT; updated 9:35 a.m. CDT, Saturday, August 31, 2013
University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe on Friday announced he distribution of more than $22 million to each of the system’s four campuses. The funding is based on the campuses’ strategic priorities, which include objectives to be achieved by 2020.

COLUMBIA — The University of Missouri System plans to use $10.67 million in state funds to enroll more students at MU, expand MU's off-campus operations, and hire more faculty and staff at two of MU's medical programs.

Another $2.94 million is earmarked for faculty salaries, said Mary Jo Banken, MU News Bureau’s executive director.

Of the $10.67 million, $9.7 million would go to the School of Medicine and $970,000 to the College of Veterinary Medicine, UM System spokesman John Fougere said.

MU's $13.61 million is part of a larger $22,172,750 state allocation for the UM System's four campuses to bolster strategic goals drafted by each campus this summer, according to a Friday announcement by UM System President Tim Wolfe.

Fougere said the system and campuses have been working on the strategic plans for a year and hope to publish them soon.

"Over the past year, MU, along with the other campuses, developed a specific strategy with an objective, scope and advantage supported by an action plan, funding plan, and metrics," Fougere said. "We hope to have them online shortly."

Banken said that she didn’t know how the money for faculty salaries would be distributed but that it would likely be set aside for faculty who achieve tenure status or are promoted.

Fougere added that the $2.94 million would also be used for recruitment and "training, mentoring and leadership development."

The funding is not guaranteed, however.

"That’s not a slam dunk yet," said Neil Olson, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, of money that would go to his school.

The more than $22 million allocated for the UM System’s strategic planning efforts hinge on whether the state legislature overturns Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of House Bill 253. The legislature reconvenes Sept. 11 and is expected to vote on the veto of the tax-cut bill at that time, Banken said.

"Gov. Nixon vetoed Bill 253 and put a hold on part of our budget," Banken said. "If his veto stands, we will get that money."

Med school: More students

The MU School of Medicine plans to use its almost $10 million allocation for staff and faculty salaries, training materials and other educational resources, according to its website.

These funds are part of a larger plan to increase the infrastructure of the school. Because of a shortage of physicians in the state and nationally, the school wants to increase its number of students from 96 to 128, said Weldon Webb, associate dean for rural health.

To accommodate more students, the school hopes to secure about $40 million to construct new buildings and labs on campus. It also hopes to expand its partnership with two health care providers, CoxHealth and Mercy Hospital, in Springfield by creating a clinical campus there.

Roughly $35 million will be spent in Columbia and $5 million in Springfield, Webb said.

That $40 million is not yet secured, but Webb said he’s optimistic the school will get it. After obtaining the money, it will take about two years to build the infrastructure needed.

The increase in students will be gradual. If the school can obtain the required funding, August 2016 will be the first time the medical school enrolls 128 students.

Vet school: Large animal program

The College of Veterinary Medicine plans to use its almost $1 million allocation to support the teaching needs of the school’s large animal program, Olson said.

All veterinary students, even if they plan to work in the small-animal field, need exposure to large animals as part of their education, he said.

With this year’s funds in hand, the school would start looking to hire at least one new faculty member in the next nine to 12 months. Down the road, it would look to hire two additional teachers and two to three technicians, Olson said.

Also, the school wants to build a clinical skills lab at its 288-acre Middlebush Farm near the Columbia Regional Airport. Doubling the 30-head herd of cows is on the agenda as well, he said.

The funds would also go to replacing some old medical trucks and creating a place to house those trucks.

Remaining funding

The rest of the money, $8,562,750, would go to the rest of the system and the system office.

Beyond MU’s $13.61 million allocation, Wolfe also slated:

  • about $3.2 to the Missouri University of Science and Technology.
  • about $2.2 to the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
  • about $2.6 million to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
  • $583,000 to the UM System.

Fougere said the UM System will use its allocation to enhance its employee development programs and standardize systemwide technology.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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