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January 31, 2019

 
House and Senate hearings conducted on Fast Track legislation
HB 225 (Swan) and SB 16 (Romine) create the Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant, which is a new state financial aid program that addresses workforce needs by encouraging adults to pursue an industry-recognized credential in an area designated as high need. For FY 2020, the Governor recommended $22.2 million in funding for the Fast Track program.

On Jan. 28 the House Workforce Development Committee, chaired by Rep. Kathy Swan, received testimony on HB 225. Testifying in support of the bill were Zora Mulligan, Missouri Department of Higher Education; Matt Panik, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Chris Roepe, Missouri Community College Association (MCCA); Angie Besendorfer, WGU-Missouri, David Jackson, State Technical College of Missouri; Shannon Cooper, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce; Jewell Patek, Cerner Corporation; and Otto Fajen, Missouri National Education Association (NEA).

On Jan. 29 the Senate Education Committee, chaired by Sen. Gary Romine, received testimony on SB 16. Testifying in support of the bill were Zora Mulligan, Missouri Department of Higher Education; Chris Roepe, MCCA; Angie Besendorfer, WGU-Missouri; Shannon Cooper, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce; Matt Panik, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Otto Fajen, Missouri NEA.

Questions asked by the House and Senate committee members focused on funding, eligibility requirements, process for determination of high demand programs, impact on other state aid programs, outcome tracking and accountability, and comparison data to other states’ adult programs.
 
House appropriations subcommittee takes public testimony from higher education organizations
The House Subcommittee on Appropriations – Education, chaired by Rep. Rusty Black, held a hearing for public testimony on Jan. 29. The subcommittee heard from the Council on Public Higher Education (COPHE), the MCCA, and the State Technical College of Missouri.

Paul Wagner, Executive Director of COPHE, and John Jasinksi, President of Northwest Missouri State University, represented the public universities. Their testimony highlighted the fact that public universities’ funding has been flat to declining in recent years, while those institutions are producing more graduates and keeping tuition below inflation. They also testified in support of the Governor’s recommendations for workforce development. Specifically, COPHE spoke in favor of MoExcels and Fast Track, as well as endorsing the Governor’s focus on funding for maintenance and repair at public universities. Wagner requested that the $20 million for maintenance and repair funding become a core item rather than a one-time request. Finally, he suggested that if funding could be identified to support the MDHE request for performance funding, it would be appreciated.

Brian Millner, President and CEO of MCCA, and Jeff Pittman, President of St. Louis Community College, testified on behalf of the community colleges. They testified in support of the MDHE requests for performance funding, equity funding, and workforce initiatives funding, including MoExcels and Fast Track. MCCA also spoke in favor of fully funding A+.

State Technical College of Missouri also testified in support of MDHE’s funding requests and specifically asked to be included in any maintenance and repair funding. They highlighted their state and national standing as a vocational and technical school, citing national rankings from CNBC and Forbes.

MDHE is scheduled to present the higher education budget to the entire House Budget Committee on Feb. 12.
 
Senate appropriations committee reviews department budget
Commissioner Zora Mulligan and her staff presented the FY 2020 budget request and Governor’s recommendations to the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Sen. Dan Hegeman, on Jan. 30. This process helps the Senate as they begin to create their version of the state budget. Committee members’ questions focused on scholarship programs, workforce development funding and staffing levels, and maintenance and repair funding.
 
House committee hears bill exempting community college employees from retirement restriction
The House Pensions Committee, chaired by Rep. Patricia Pike, received testimony on HB 77 (Black) on Jan. 29. The bill exempts any person retired, currently receiving a retirement allowance from the Public School Retirement System of Missouri, and employed by a community college from a law restricting a person’s monthly retirement allowance if they exceed 60% of the statutory minimum teacher salary. Testifying in support of the bill were Brian Millner, MCCA; Otto Fajen, Missouri NEA; Marie Walden, Public School Retirement System of Missouri; and Tim Green, Missouri Retired Teachers Association. The bill is similar to SB 17 (Romine), which was placed on the Senate’s consent calendar on Jan. 31.
 

 


Missouri Department of Higher Education
P.O. Box 1469
Jefferson City, MO 65102
https://dhe.mo.gov
800-473-6757
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