Archive for Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Education consultants consider ‘charter’ university for Kansas

July 11, 2001


— The same consultants looking for ways to improve Kansas higher education created the report that turned the Colorado School of Mines into that state's first "charter" university.

Leaders of the Northwest Research Education Center, or NORED, said Tuesday that a charter university may not be what is needed in Kansas, but they weren't going to rule it out.

"It may have some efficacy here," said William Chance, NORED executive director.

Chance and other key members of NORED were camped out in the Capitol for two days of meetings with various officials, including Gov. Bill Graves.

"We want to get information by talking with people and also give them a chance to become engaged in the study," Chance said.

The $125,000 study is expected to be finished in November. The study is to give Kansas officials guidance on potential mergers and affiliations between state institutions of higher education.

The NORED team, based in Olympia, Wash., plans a series of visits throughout the state to talk with Kansans about the higher education system.

A NORED study conducted last year for Colorado officials recommended that Colorado School of Mines be made into something like a charter school.

The Colorado Legislature adopted the recommendation, which gives the school independent authority to set tuition rates and create or modify academic programs while continuing to receive state funds. The school also is required to fulfill certain contractual obligations.

Chance said that Colorado schools needed to be given more autonomy.

He said he didn't know if that is the case in Kansas, but the trend nationwide is to release public universities from tight regulation from legislatures.

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