Thomas talks Truman budget cuts

Truman is working on a strategy for reallocating funds. (John Garlock/KTVO) 

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens released a massive budget cut proposal for higher education, drawing concerns about the future of Missouri universities.

"We don't like to do less with less. We clearly can't do more with less,” said Truman State University President Sue Thomas.

In Thomas' office, there are many reminders of where the university's been and where it's going. Now, Thomas is now faced with difficult questions of the university’s future.

"The question is how we're going to do different with less," Thomas said.

The university doesn't have much time to ponder that question, and if Governor Greitens gets his way, Truman will be looking at an almost 18 percent cut in funding.

“I'm confident that we can cut some of that administrative overhead while continuing to provide first-class education," Greitens said in a recent stop in Macon while promoting his tax plan.

"Given the significant cut that we took this year, I was disappointed to see another significant cut for next year," Thomas said.

Now, the university is working on a strategy for reallocation of funds.

"We want to make sure we are reallocating to our priorities, and so tuition right now is still an open question," Thomas added.

There is a silver lining, 10-percent of funding can be earned back through “performance-based funding measures” Thomas said.

"Fortunately, we've done our calculations and it appears Truman will meet all of its six performance funding measures, so we'll be able to earn that 10-percent," Thomas said.

This means a budget cut of a little over three million.

"Truman is 150 years old this year. Truman got to be 150 years old because we didn't just survive, we learned how to thrive through all these challenges."

Public schools across Missouri cannot raise tuition, but a bill making its way through Jefferson City could make that an option.

The final decision comes when the Missouri house and senate vote, a process which could go as late as June 30.

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