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Archive for Sunday, May 12, 2002

Higher-ed officials call emergency budget meeting

May 12, 2002

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— Higher education officials Saturday announced an emergency meeting to deal with possible budget cuts, and slammed the Kansas House for not approving a tax increase.

"All Kansans should be aware of the fact that the governor (Bill Graves) and the Senate have worked hard to support K through 12 and higher education in a very difficult budget year," said Regents Chairman Clay Blair.

"It is the House of Representatives who have failed the citizenry," he said.

The Legislature has adopted a $4.4 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The spending plan requires about $300 million in tax increases, which the Senate has adopted but the House has rejected.

Without additional taxes, Graves has announced that he is prepared to cut spending by 8 percent to balance the budget. That would mean a cut of $56 million to higher education.

The regents have scheduled a conference call meeting at 10 a.m. Monday at the board's office in Topeka at 1000 S.W. Jackson, Suite 520, to discuss the potential cuts.

Kim Wilcox, regents president and chief executive officer, said a $56 million budget cut would set back Kansas higher education for years and harm every institution.

"No one will escape the pain," he said.

To handle such a cut, Blair said the regents could consider a moratorium on new enrollments, as was done recently in Wisconsin. Another possibility would be closing summer schools at regents universities, he said.

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