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May 5, 2017JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. |  By: AP

Missouri legislature sends education spending plan to governor

Missouri lawmakers have approved a spending plan to cut core funding for public colleges and universities by about 6.6 percent.  

Legislators on Thursday sent the plan to Gov. Eric Greitens' desk. It's part of a package of bills outlining the state's $27 billion budget next fiscal year. The lawmakers' work comes amid a budget crunch and lagging state revenues. Greitens and his predecessor, Jay Nixon, have made a combined $350 million of spending cuts to offset lower-than-expected revenues.  

Greitens had asked lawmakers to cut higher education funding by nearly 10 percent to balance next year's budget, but legislators softened those cuts. The proposal also seeks to force public colleges and universities to charge international tuition to students without lawful immigration status and bans scholarships for those students.  
Missouri lawmakers also approved a budget plan that would give $3.4 billion in basic aid to public K-12 schools. The roughly $48 million increase sent to Gov. Eric Greitens' desk on Thursday would mean Missouri meets funding goals called for under state law. Lawmakers also spared money for school busing. Greitens wanted to cut that by about $25 million compared to this fiscal year.

Lawmakers face a Friday deadline to pass a budget for the next fiscal year, which begins in July.