University updates staff on budget issues

Feb 9, 2012

The second meeting discussing MU’s  budget took place Wednesday where Director of Budget Tim Rooney led an updated presentation on the university’s financial situation for the coming year.

The presentation explored ways that the fiscal budget could be adjusted, to mitigate Gov. Nixon’s proposed cuts to higher education. This year, MU has a $510 million operating budget to work with—most of which goes toward maintaining the system. Rooney explained that within the past 10 years, there’s been a pretty big increase in enrollment but a drop in state appropriations.  He says, even if the proposed tuition increase passes, the university will still be at a deficit.

Professors and staff debated about the limitations put on their resources with the increase in students, an increase that will only grow larger. Capacity issues including class size, room space, and faculty availability were discussed.

Journalism professor Lee Wilkins was one of a handful of audience members to voice her concerns.

I’m literally asking what’s being asked about as a way to solve the problem?"

"It’s a totally fair question," said Provost Brian Foster. "I think  one of the likely outcome is going to be, however we get to it, we’re going to see fewer people, fewer employees, including faculty.”

Foster called the discussion “passionate,” and says meetings like this are vital to the budget office.

Nixon announced Tuesday that $40 million would be put back into higher education funding. Though, at this point, said Foster, there’s no certainty to anything.