Funding for MU schools contingent on General Assembly vote

The university would receive a total of more than $13 million in funding.

MU is slated to receive more funding if the General Assembly does not override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a controversial tax cut bill.

The School of Medicine and College of Veterinary Medicine will receive a total of $10.67 million in state funds if Nixon’s veto of House Bill 253 is upheld Sept. 11.

The university as a whole would receive $13.61 million to begin its five-year strategic plan.

The College of Veterinary Medicine would receive $970,000 to expand its large animal program.

That program trains students to work with farm animals, Dean Neil Olson said.

“Even students that desire to go into small animal practice or research still spend some time with large animals,” he said.

Olson said the funds would be used to increase the college’s class size from 76 to 120 students and bolster various facility, equipment and personnel needs.

“These (changes) are things we’ve had on our radar screen all along,” Olson said. “This is all about vastly improving what we can offer, and we were really appreciative of the legislators that wanted to help. They sought us out to lend a helping hand because we have a shortage of large-animal practitioners in the state.”

The biggest change to the program would concern the college’s training farm, Middlebush Farm. The college is looking to start a clinical skills lab at the farm to instruct students.

Middlebush, a donation to the university, has college-owned livestock and is where many students learn the various skills they need, Olson said.

“We want to expand our facilities, and a modern clinical skills lab would illustrate to our students proper techniques in handling larger animals and treating them for any kinds of problems,” he said.

The college would also expand the cow herd size from 30 to about 60 cows if the projected increase in number of students happens.

“This (change) is more for working on healthy cows, whereas what we currently get here at the hospital are sick cows,” Olson said.

The college would also replace many of its ambulances and hire more large animal faculty and technicians.

At least two of the faculty would be senior-level hire veterinarians with specialty training, Olson said. The college would also hire additional technicians at Middlebush Farm to coordinate activities.

MU’s College of Veterinary Medicine is the only one in Missouri, and the institution is dedicated to expanding its current resources.

“We have a very good program now, but this gives us an opportunity to take it to the next level,” Olson said. “This isn’t the kind of program that gets duplicated on any other campus.”

While the College of Veterinary Medicine might receive $970,000, the remainder of the $10.67 million would go toward the School of Medicine.

One of the school’s main initiatives is a new clinical campus in Springfield, Mo.

The school would partner with Springfield's CoxHealth and Mercy to increase the medical student class size at MU as well.

“By adding a clinical campus in Springfield, that’s going to allow the MU medical school to expand its student class size by more than 30 percent,” MU Health Care spokeswoman Mary Jenkins said. “It’s an expansion of the MU medical school. Eventually a portion of those students, approximately one-fourth, would be finishing up their schooling at the Springfield campus.”

MU, CoxHealth and Mercy have educated physicians together since 2005 through the Rural Track Pipeline program, which educates student physicians in rural areas of the state.

The new collaboration would provide more than 300 additional physicians, add about $390 million annually to the state economy and create approximately 3,500 new jobs for the state.

The total estimated annual funding for operations, including faculty and staff salaries, training materials and other educational resources, would be approximately $10 million per year. The investment required for infrastructural resources is approximately $36 million, $32.7 million of which would be used to construct a new educational medical building.

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