JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Senate passed the 2012 education budget Wednesday after finding additional funding for colleges and universities.
The Senate adopted the budget plans proposed by Appropriations Chairman, Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, after agreeing to send an extra $20 million to all of Missouri's public colleges and universities.
"The university presidents are working in good faith to reduce costs," Schaefer said after his proposal passed the budget committee last week.
The $20 million will cut the core reduction for universities to 4.8 percent from the 7 percent cut proposed by Gov. Nixon. MU spokesman Christian Basi said he could not comment on how the budget changes would affect the university since they do not comment on pending legislation.
Other changes to the educations budget include an additional $20 million for local school district transportation. Last year, Gov. Nixon reduced transportation funds among all state departments by 5 percent for the current budget. The Senate added the transportation money, after making cuts in other areas of the budget. Rep. Sara Lampe, D-Springfield said, "I am thrilled beyond belief."
Both bills passed overwhelmingly with large bipartisan support, however, Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau voted against both bills. Crowell said he does not agree with the means the state is using in order to create a balanced budget.
"We are going to have to come to terms with ... what I will call a hole in our budget when the federal money runs out," Crowell said.
There are several areas of Missouri's 2012 budget, including funding for local school districts, that include one-time money from the federal government. Schaefer said that is a problem that would be addressed next year after legislators have a better estimate on the size of the budget gap.
All appropriations bills will return to the House, where changes made by the Senate must be approved before the governor can sign the budget.