Archive for Friday, March 13, 1998

SENATE PANEL TRIMS KU BUDGET BY $3 MILLION

March 13, 1998

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— The Senate Ways and Means Committee on Thursday recommended reducing Gov. Bill Graves' proposed budget for Kansas University by $3.3 million.

While the governor had recommended $388.8 million for KU, the committee's recommendation was trimmed to $385.5 million.

However, Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said the budget process is far from over.

``It is very early in the process,'' Ballard said, explaining the House and the Senate will probably reach an agreement during the final days of this year's session.

``A lot of what happens with higher education is also tied to what happens in our tax package,'' Ballard said. ``Since we haven't decided what we're going to do with our tax package, you can't decide on the other.''

Ballard said the House is expected to start taking up university budgets next Friday.

The Senate committee's action on KU's budget came as the committee endorsed proposed budgets for the six state universities.

The Senate committee did not consider the House committee's plan to overhaul the governance of higher education. That plan contains funding enhancements for the universities to raise faculty salaries even more than the governor proposed.

The Senate committee deviated little from Graves' proposals, except to remove money for salary increases, an issue it plans to consider later.

``At this point, the House hasn't even passed the new higher education plan, and the Senate hasn't even had a chance to study it,'' said Sen. Dave Kerr, R-Hutchinson, chairman of the Senate budget committee.

Graves proposed a 4 percent increase in pay for faculty, as well as a 2.5 percent increase in spending on all other items.

The Senate committee approved more than $1.24 billion in expenditures for the state universities for the state's 1999 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

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