JEFFERSON CITY - The House Education Appropriations committee handed the University of Missouri System a half-million dollar budget increase over the governor's recommendation on Thursday.
Under the bill, the UM System would receive $458.5 million, a 3.7 percent increase over last year and $550,000 more than Missouri Gov. Bob Holden had included in his proposed budget.
The committee, chaired by Rep. Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, also approved funding the state's public colleges and universities at or above levels contained in Holden's budget proposal.
"Staying level is a victory in this budget year," Graham said, pointing out that other state agencies were expected to face cuts of seven to 10 percent. "Every other agency got hammered."
Graham also pushed through a $250,000 proposal to establish a disability sports program for students at MU. Graham, who uses a wheelchair, said disabled students should have an equal opportunity to compete in sports.
"I want kids who have disabilities who are interested in health, recreation, and athletic programs to have an opportunity at some school in this state." Graham said. "I want them to have that opportunity here."
The bill now moves to the House Budget Committee.