To the editor:
Gov. Matt Blunt's proposal to increase the budget for higher education by $17.1 million is a significant and positive step in the right direction for Missouri's colleges and universities. As former members of the Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents and members of the Regent Emeriti Society, we understand the budget concerns that colleges and universities have across the state. Schools lost more than $100 million when then-governor Bob Holden withheld funds.
When the state budget is tight, higher education often takes cuts, and higher education administrators have been bracing themselves for massive cuts similar to those under the Holden administration. While Holden made cuts and withheld funds, Governor Blunt maintained spending on higher education, even in a tight fiscal year. Now, by proposing this $17.1 million increase, Governor Blunt is helping keep Southeast Missouri State University and other Missouri schools competitive in the Midwest and ensuring that we will be able to maintain the same high level of quality education for our students at an affordable rate.
Many students are the beneficiaries of hard-working parents who need tuition held to a minimum. I commend Governor Blunt for his actions and encourage legislators to support him in this endeavor.
MARK PELTS and DOYLE PRIVETT, Kennett, Mo.