Archive for Thursday, April 1, 2004

State pledges to repay KU cuts

Budget-efficiency team says spending cuts will bring greater return

April 1, 2004


The state will take $344,473 from the Kansas University housing department's coffers next year under a budget plan proposed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and approved by both houses of the Legislature.

But if KU and other state agencies adhere to a Sebelius administration efficiency plan, the money will be replaced and KU's overall budget will increase, administration officials say.

KU officials, however, are skeptical.

"I find it hard to see how they're going to save housing $350,000 next year over what we've already been able to save," Vice Provost Lindy Eakin said. "That's a lot of money."

The Department of Student Housing will take KU's largest departmental hit under cuts proposed by Sebelius' Budget Efficiency Savings Teams. The BEST teams have promised to save enough money to cover the cuts through renegotiating state purchasing and information technology contracts.

Overall, the state plans to cut -- and has promised to save -- $28 million from its agencies, which will be used to fund a 3 percent salary increase for state workers. KU's portion is $3.2 million on the Lawrence campus and another $1.9 million at the Medical Center.

KU recently received a list of recommended areas of savings compiled by the BEST teams.

Eakin said KU officials planned to follow the BEST recommendations with one exception, $13,832 proposed for trimming at the Hilltop Child Development Center. Hilltop is a nonprofit organization operating on campus that transfers its funds to a university account to provide a better bond rating. Eakin said other university funds would cover the amount proposed to be cut from Hilltop's budget.

Administrators at Wichita State University announced earlier this week they would not follow the BEST recommendations and instead changed the allocations of cuts, which the governor's office has allowed. WSU President Donald Beggs said he thought trimming housing and parking funds would hurt the university's bond rating and instead took money from fees such as those charged at libraries and the speech-language-hearing clinic.

If the BEST teams follow through with their savings, Eakin said the higher education budget -- which awaits Sebelius' signature -- would provide KU about $600,000 more than this year's budget, after the university pays for increases in employee health insurance.

Duane Goossen, state budget director, said he was confident the state would be successful in finding the areas of savings by the time the fiscal year begins July 1.

"That's what we're hoping for," he said. "That's the target we're shooting for."

These are the areas of savings at Kansas University identified by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' Budget Efficiency Savings Teams. KU officials say they'll follow each of the areas except for the Hilltop Child Development Center.Tuition, $1.6 millionGeneral fund, $1.6 millionGeological Survey, $856Law Enforcement Training Center, $29,305Edwards Campus development fund, $13,235Fire service training, $14,093General restricted fees, $404,479Continuing Education, $75,501Research overhead, $5,747Watkins Student Health Center, $75,130Housing, $344,473Parking, $18,618Health facility maintenance, $1,976Interest on university funds, $296Hilltop Child Development Center, $13,832Student Recreation Center, $9,977

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