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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Six universities in search of a state

Funding for higher ed has dramatically decreased, while reliance on tuition money has soared

April 15, 2007

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— Given the current trend, students at Kansas University today may see their children climb Mt. Oread to graduate from Douglas County University or some other nonstate-funded school.

Between 1985 and 2005, state appropriations to the six regents universities as a percentage of their operating budgets have decreased from 49 percent to 29 percent, about one percent per year. Meanwhile, tuition has increased from 15 percent to 23 percent of the schools' operating budgets.

At that rate, KU will be defunded by the state in little more than a generation.

State policymakers reject that such a thing could happen, but the recent battle over paying for $663 million in repairs at regents universities has reopened debate about the relationship between state government and the university system and vice versa - especially when the subject is money.

"It's an ages-old discussion that is sort of back on the front burner now because of demands for maintenance money," said Senate Republican Leader Derek Schmidt of Independence.

What the schools want

The six regents universities say they need $663 million to take care of needed repairs and maintenance. The schools currently divvy up approximately $15 million per year, which they say is far less than what is needed to keep up their campuses.

Over the years, this gap, in addition to the natural aging of facilities, has produced a long list of emergency repair work.

The schools, including KU, have been arguing their case for several years, but so far the Legislature hasn't acted, in part, Schmidt said, because there are no easy ways to come up with that kind of money.

"It's very expensive," Schmidt said. "That's in the same ballpark of the school finance numbers, and look how many years it took us to reach agreement on school finance."

Lawmakers battled schools and the Kansas Supreme Court for several years over adequately funding public schools before agreeing to a plan that will pump in approximately $756 million over a five-year period.

"It probably was not realistic to expect we were going to come in and resolve the regents issue in a single year," Schmidt said.

Fallback on tuition

In addition, higher education is often the odd man out when it comes to the major pieces of the state budget.

During lean budget years, higher education "always gets hit a little harder," said Julie Bell, education program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Many states have court-ordered or constitutional requirements on public school funding, while cuts to health and human services are politically unappealing, she said.

"There is a built-in revenue piece in higher education: tuition," Bell said. "Higher education is always a place where you can make some cuts when you have to."

That has happened in Kansas. Resident tuition and fees at KU increased 20.8 percent in 2002-03, 17.7 percent in 2003-04, 15.5 percent in 2004-05, 14.3 percent in 2005-06, and another 13.7 percent for 2006-07.

But Bell said that many states rebounding from the lean years in 2001 and 2002 are now starting to reinvest in higher education.

"There is a great national conversation about the importance of higher education to state economic health and global competitiveness," she said.

"There are new ways of thinking about how institutions contribute back to communities."

Neufeld's tax idea

But some lawmakers, most notably House Speaker Melvin Neufeld, R-Ingalls, say it's time for communities to contribute back to the institutions.

He has backed an idea that would allow county commissioners in counties that have regents schools to increase the local sales tax by one-tenth of one cent for deferred maintenance.

He said university towns reap the benefits of having the schools, so they should contribute to their upkeep. The proposal has gained some support on both sides of the aisle as part of a broader strategy to address the problem.

But the Kansas Board of Regents opposed the idea, and it has generated a lot of political pushback in places like Lawrence and Manhattan, home of Kansas State University.

"A lot of legislators from nonregents communities are interested in that, and obviously those that represent regents communities are less than thrilled about that possibility," Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said.

Who benefits?

The debate comes down to who benefits from KU: Lawrence or the entire state?

KU officials say the school benefits the entire state, and they can provide data that show how intertwined the school is with the everyday lives of Kansans.

There is probably not a day where Kansans don't come into contact with KU through the 141,000 alumni in the state, which include teachers, doctors, lawyers, business people and many more.

For example, KU-trained doctors practice in 85 of Kansas' 105 counties and represent 52 percent of all doctors in the state. The Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center in Hutchinson oversees professional training for all law enforcement officers in the state.

Last week, the regents tried to appeal to lawmakers' political instincts by releasing a report that showed how many state university students came from their districts and counties.

Reginald Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the regents, said he hoped the study would show lawmakers that even if they didn't have a regents school in their districts, they did have constituent students.

On April 25, the debate will resume as lawmakers return for the wrap-up session. Morris and other key lawmakers have said allocating revenue for universities' repairs will be one of the top priorities.

"It's certainly front and center when we get back to the wrap-up session," Morris said.

Comments

KS 7 years, 3 months ago

LET'S SEE NOW! WHAT IS THE PERCENTAGE OF GROWTH IN THE OPERATING BUDGETS OF THE UNIVERSITIES VERSUS THE PERCENTAGE OF GROWTH IN STUDENTS OVER THE LAST TWENTY YEARS? ARE THE SCHOOLS GROWING OR ARE THEY JUST SPENDING MORE?

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

Should JOCO and Douglas Counties become independent of the state legislature? If both counties forgot to send tax revenue to the state so that funding education becomes the priority where would that put the state cookie jar?

Could be that out of county tuition is on the horizon?

Kansas legislature continues to take steps backwards since about 1987 as Lawrence city government becomes evermore corrupt by way of the real estate/development community.

Both levels of government seem to be living in days gone by instead of thinking outside the box and moving forward.

At least JOCO stepped up and realized the need to fund its' public school system instead of running the county into more big time debt building residential that cannot pay for itself/Costs of Community Services. Experienced public school educators receive higher salaries in the JOCO district. When I read of USD 497 retirements JOCO school district comes to mind...aka migration.

If KU gets put on the backs of Douglas County somehow the state should have less access to Douglas County tax dollars.

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Bruce Bertsch 7 years, 3 months ago

For KS...There is no direct correlation between number of students and operationg budgets. Much of the budget of any business is spent on non-contollable items such as health and physical plant insurance which is determined by an outside party. BTW, yes the student population at five of the six regent institutions has grown over the past 20 years, as have salaries and expenses.

I find the legislature's invocation of "It's hard to find that kind of money," to be disingenuous at best and more likely than not an outright lie. After all, these are the same folks who found something like $322 million to hand out in tax cuts. That is nearly 1/2 of the total needed to fund the deferred maintenance. The money is there, it is the political will that is lacking.

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LogicMan 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm not a constitutional lawyer -- any out there?

Although worded as "optional", any thoughts on a higher government forcing a specific lower sovereign (not all at the same level beneath it) to pay for its own activities?

"Unfunded mandates" are common, but seem like they must apply to all lower sovereigns, or will not pass legal challenges.

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Bud Stagg 7 years, 3 months ago

A year to solve this issue. Come on bozo's quit playing politics and get this stuff fixed. If it took a year to solve a problem like this in business, you'd be out of business.

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Bradley Kemp 7 years, 3 months ago

Does it not occur to anyone else that the Regents systems has outgrown our state's needs? Perhaps six state universities is too many for a state with the population of a medium-sized city.

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sourpuss 7 years, 3 months ago

I agree with you, Merrill. Why should some kid from western Kansas get to go to KU for the same bill as someone who grew up in Douglas County, if we are going to examine the roles of states and counties in maintaining and sponsoring our universities.

And Souki: if the universities were not needed, why are their enrolments so high? Not to mention all of the out-of-state tuition brought in especially from Illinois to KU. Money in our pockets. And don't we need somewhere to train our law enforcement?

If the legislature doesn't do something, the infastructure we crumble to the point that these enormous revenue-producing machines will have to be shut down, and then Kansas will be nothing more than a medium city spread over a state. We have enough trouble attracting good businesses to Kansas because of the lack of training and education.

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Baille 7 years, 3 months ago

I have had a change of heart on this issue. I think the increase in Douglas County taxes is a great idea - if our residents' children get a free - or nearly free - tuition. Kids from Ingalls County have to pay double, of course, and if related to Neufeld in any manner would need to pass a competency test to show that they were prepared for college.

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kclement 7 years, 3 months ago

Excellent headline. Anyone ever read Pirandello?

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KWCoyote 7 years, 3 months ago

The resistance to funding of university maintenance and general operating costs, and the eagerness to dump the burden onto students and university towns, is the result of Kansas suffering from the reign of the stupid. Maybe the problem is that so many sons and daughters of the intelligent have left for jobs elsewhere that the IQ of the Kansas gene pool has fallen.

But graduates often must go elsewhere to find the pay to meet their loan obligations, because the state's cheapness has jacked up their need to go into debt. With more state financing, students would have less pressure to go where they must to get the means to pay their loans.

With more graduates staying in Kansas, maybe the state legislature and public would get smart enough to consider that education makes people better citizens as well as better, more capable employees. No doubt the trend in IQ feeds on itself in both directions.

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teacher4ku 7 years, 3 months ago

I am a KU graduate and am now teaching in western Kansas. Although I agree that the legislature needs to step up and fund universities for repairs, KU needs to step up and reach out to ALL of Kansas. KU has no presence out here. It's frustrating when I can continue my education through many state universities out here, but KU is not one of those schools.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 3 months ago

Its important to not only note the inverse relationship between state funding and tuition funding of university expenses but also to focus on how the students fund that tuition.

The main source is borrowing via loans. Endless reforms of this system have increased the ABILITY to borrow ever larger sums. Kansas, like most other states, has discovered that vis-a-vis students they can push these costs off from a society-wide burden to an individual one.

Students for a "weak link" in the competition between funding sources. Frankly, they tend to be young and naive. While they are frightened to borrow large sums of money, they also tend to rationalize this by retaining or adopting overly optimistic views: "it'll all work out," "I'll get a good paying job," or underestimate the expense of their own children or buying a house (how exactly does a young person buy into a market like Boston or San Fran, or Lawrence?)

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Godot 7 years, 3 months ago

The graph showing the drop in the percentage of KU's budget that the state contributes is missing an important factor: the INCREASE in the operating budget of KU, over which the legislature has no control.

Come on, JW, revise the chart, and use dollars to represent the budget, and dollars to represent the state support.

The problem is with the Board of Regents. They have failed miserably in their duty to provide oversight for the voracious fiscal appetites of the regents universities, most pointedly, KU.

And, I agree with Souki. Kansas needs to re-evaluate its need for six state sponsored universities.

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Lifelong_Lawrencian 7 years, 3 months ago

The answer is simple. Do not allow anyone to vote who has an IQ less than 110.

Does anyone have any information on Neufeld's education?

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britt408 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm so glad we re-elected Sebelius and she's doing something about this...end sarcasm

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Godot 7 years, 3 months ago

"There is probably not a day where Kansans don't come into contact with KU through the 141,000 alumni in the state, which include teachers, doctors, lawyers, business people and many more."

Wow. Some of those alumni are, no doubt as old as 80 years old.

Wonder how many of those who have graduated since 1980 are still in Kansas?

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javery 7 years, 3 months ago

I'm having about the same thoughts as Baille. This will actually be good for Douglas County. If you can force out of state students to pay far higher tuition on the grounds that they have not and will not be paying the taxes that support the university, then there is a great precedent for making Douglas County KU students pay very little and sharply raising the tuition of out-of-county Kansans.

The great thing is that nobody can argue that a one cent sales tax shouldn't make a huge difference in tuition rates for people from Douglas County versus people from outside the county, since the state has been contributing a smaller and smaller portion of KU's operating budget, but nobody has had a big problem with continuing to raise the tuition of out of state students.

I think this has the potential to very much backfire, with KU forcing people from other counties to be the ones to pay up.

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jaydocky 7 years, 3 months ago

Why mention doctors? They are trained in KC and Wichita, where overhead for buildings comes from grants and patient care. If the other schools worked like the med school, faculty would be paying at least half of their salaries from grants and most of the building maintenance could be charged to grant overhead.

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KsTwister 7 years, 3 months ago

Hello, this is Lawrence, Kansas calling......whats the problem? Really? We'll take it from here.

If all projects on the $663 million repair list were done, the report said that would increase gross state product by $1.5 billion and earnings by $427.3 million and add 12,736 jobs.

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yourworstnightmare 7 years, 3 months ago

Increased operating budgets are ubiquitous and not unique to KU. I imagine that KU's has increased at a slower pace relative to it's peers'.

This is a straw man. It is expensive and getting ever more so to run a research university, the kind which KU aspires to be.

The Kansas legisalture is abandoning higher education. I say KU speeds the process by become private.

The state could donate the lands and buildings and never pay a cent more in operating costs to KU.

KU could double tuition and vigorously pursue donations and research money.

I would work, and I think it is the future, given the failure of the legislature and the attitude in kansas about higher education.

KU and Kansas need a divorce.

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yourworstnightmare 7 years, 3 months ago

teacher4ku said: "...KU needs to step up and reach out to ALL of Kansas. KU has no presence out here."

What would you suggest?

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Eride 7 years, 3 months ago

I am all for Lawrence paying for this if everyone from outside of Lawrence has to pay the out of state tuition rate.... :)

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Remy 7 years, 3 months ago

Great, so counties with the prisons can pay for those, Shawnee county can pay for the capitol and all the state office buildings in Topeka, and Saline county can pony up for the Highway Patrol Training Center. Why should the state pay for anything? The counties can even fund the local DMVs.

The state has a responsibility to maintain what it started. However, Universities seem to build a lot of nice new buildings with donor names affixed to them. Perhaps a competitive contribution scenario where you only get to keep the family name on it if you keep the building maintained. Otherwise, it goes to the highest bidder.

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

About educated legislators. I believe this discussion came up with during the public education funding debate. We may be shocked at numbers without college degrees. Granted not everyone needs such however when so many fail to see the importance of education across the board then you begin to wonder. Understanding the need for education should not be rocket science.

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

Perhaps JOCO and Douglas County should become an education district and charge tuition accordingly plus pump our public school districts to be comparable to the 100 top high schools in the country. JOCO and Douglas County should also pursue making education a booming new industry to include Vocational Technical Institutes. There is money to be made.

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Godot 7 years, 3 months ago

Posted by yourworstnightmare (anonymous) on April 15, 2007 at 1:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"I say KU speeds the process by become private.

The state could donate the lands and buildings and never pay a cent more in operating costs to KU.

KU could double tuition and vigorously pursue donations and research money."

Gee, why not just double tuition and vigorously pursue donations and research money now? What is so special about going private that would enable KU to do that then, and only then?

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yourworstnightmare 7 years, 3 months ago

Posted by Godot (anonymous) on April 15, 2007 at 2:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Gee, why not just double tuition and vigorously pursue donations and research money now? What is so special about going private that would enable KU to do that then, and only then?"

Godot: Need I remind you (or inform you) about the idea behind publically-funded education?

The idea is that the state subsidizes education so that tuition can be kept lower than otherwise to allow broad access to higher education.

The state is shirking on it's contribution to this equation, so we see tuition increases. All I am saying is that this trend be carried to it's logical conclusion.

However, I agree that there is no reason that fund-raising and grant-getting could not be increased. In fact, it is being.

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Godot 7 years, 3 months ago

Problem solved then. The universities should raise the funds to fix their buildings.

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yourworstnightmare 7 years, 3 months ago

none2:

KU is NOT a community college. It is a research university.

The community college system was designed for "non-traditional" students who work banker's hours and still want to take college courses.

A research university is designed to provide an intense, four-year course of study to train a student in critical thinking and to prepare for a professional career.

If JCCC better serves your needs, then by all means take courses there. It was designed to serve "non-traditional" students.

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yourworstnightmare 7 years, 3 months ago

Godot posted: "Problem solved then. The universities should raise the funds to fix their buildings."

Agreed. The universities should be freed from the constraints of the legislature and allowed to raise the funds necessary for their survival and improvement. They should privatize and raise tuition to a level appropriate for their maintenance.

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Godot 7 years, 3 months ago

yourworstnightmare implied that I do not know the purpose of a state university: to provide a lower cost education than elsewhere.

Well, that is what it is, indeed; unfortunately, KU has changed its focus from providing a low-cost, high quality education to the state's citizens to becoming a research institution. Who are the benefactors of the research? The faculty, and corporate America.

Yourworstnightmare admits that it is this focus on research that has increased the operating costs so dramatically.

Return KU to its original mission, and maybe the state can afford to support it.

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brickston 7 years, 3 months ago

Mismanagement by a growing and conceited monster...Proposing a new $50 million Business School Building...raising the money from donors...why not endow maintenance? As a taxpayer, I'm sick and tired of KU blaming others for their problems...look in the mirror...

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yourworstnightmare 7 years, 3 months ago

"Return KU to its original mission, and maybe the state can afford to support it."

KU has always been a research university, and KU faculty have always been expected to conduct research. I believe most faculty at KU are expected to spend close to half of their effort on research. It has been this way for a very long time. certainly in modern times (after 1945).

To when, Godot, are you harkening back?

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yourworstnightmare 7 years, 3 months ago

"Who are the benefactors of the research? The faculty, and corporate America."

You and other Kansans, Godot, are the benefactors. Why go to KU? Why not go to Baker or St. Mary's or Bethel or Bethany or the myriad other liberal arts colleges in the area?

Because KU is a research university that provides more to a student's education than classroom instruction.

Research is also a major economic driver in the state, bringing in millions of dollars and providing hundreds if not thousands of skilled, professional, high-paying jobs.

I am surprised, Godot, that you did not know this.

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Godot 7 years, 3 months ago

yourworstnightmare, you must be joking when you say that the mission of KU, as it was originally established, anywhere resembles what it is today.

Always is not since 1945; "modern times" is not since 1945. My guess is, you chose the year 1945 because that is when KU began to add research, in a form close to what it is today, to the mission.

Lets compare the hours, dollars and resources spent on pure research in 2007 to those of, say, 1973. That is a generation ago.

Lets also compare the ratio of professors to students, and the number of hours of classtime taught by teaching assistants.

Anyone have the answers on the tip of their mouse?

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Godot 7 years, 3 months ago

yourworstnightmare, I have children who matriculated from KU, KState, a private college in California, and a private college in Colorado.

Guess which ones got through in four years, and were the best prepared for their chosen careers? Guess which one finished in 6 years due to the unavailability of classes, and the lack of counselling? You guessed it, the KU grad. Guess which ones are proud to wear the rings of their schools, and guess which one didn't even bother to buy one.

I am not saying that is the same for everyone, but I certainly do not see that KU does anything better for undergrads than, say, Johnson County Community College, might do. In fact, many KU undergrads have to rely on JCCC to provide them with the access to, and the quality instruction of, required classes that they cannot get at KU.

By the way, I am a KU alum.

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Wilbur_Nether 7 years, 3 months ago

The legislature tends so poorly to the regents institutions that it should give up all pretense of trying and should eliminate them from the State system. Some may be able to "go private;" most will likely simply close their doors. Whichever happens, though, since the legislature doesn't seem to be able to take care of its nice things, we shouldn't allow it to have nice things.

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Godot 7 years, 3 months ago

yourworstnightmare wrote: "Research is also a major economic driver in the state, bringing in millions of dollars and providing hundreds if not thousands of skilled, professional, high-paying jobs."

Really? Care to elucidate?

My gut feeling is that the vast majority of these skilled, professional, high-paying jobs are related to publicly funded universities.

So, the universities create jobs by creating jobs in universities. Which, of course, are funded by the taxpayers.

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Godot 7 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, Wilbur, it is the Board of Regents whose lack of oversight of the regents institutions has allowed the institutions to become bloated, fiscally unresponsible behemoths, unable to live withing the means afforded by the legislature that is responsible to the meager populace of 2,000,000 Kansans.

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KsTwister 7 years, 3 months ago

KU needs to tear down something old, because with a little money they just keep building something new anyway.

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KsTwister 7 years, 3 months ago

Have to agree with Godot. For several years I have wondered how taxpayers dollars have come to help so many for profit businesses such as some tech and post secondary schools. I know the Board of Regents have to certify those privatized facilities to receive money from the state, but how many of them can we really afford? I have found myself blaming the Board of Regents many years ago for much the same mismanagement.

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Wilbur_Nether 7 years, 3 months ago

No need to apologize, Godot. For several reasons. Especially given that schools have been reporting their maintenance needs to the legislature (through the Board) for years. The legislature has turned a blind eye and funded a fraction of the schools' needs (this is true of universities, community colleges, vocational and technical schools).

KsTwister, tearing down buildings would mean KU would have to move functions or academic units to another building. What functions or units do you recommend eliminating to make room for this?

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fletch 7 years, 3 months ago

The problem in your logic Godot, is you assume that it is a problem isolated only to KU. Go to any major public research university in the nation, and you'll find that a large percentage of students took classes from community colleges before attending. That's the state of national higher education finance right now. Tuition has risen sharply at every university because almost every state has backed off paying for it. So a lot of students who can't afford to take 4 years of loans out, take 2 years at community college. The thing is, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Education is simply becoming more modular.

As for criticisms that KU doesn't have good advising, that's just misinformation from bitter students. The Freshman Sophomore Advising Center is open year round and has two dozen advisers. Every academic department also has their own trained advisers (some with staffs also in the dozens). In addition, there are numerous publications and websites to help students get through advising. Major requirements are clearly listed in the course catalog as well as department publications and websites. On top of that, there are literally hundreds of student advisers employed by Advising, Orientation, and various academic department in case students would be more comfortable talking to somebody in their peer group. With all that available to them, if a student still can't get muster up the energy to talk to an adviser and get a 4 or 5 year plan put together, then I'm not exactly sure what to do for them.

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rhd99 7 years, 3 months ago

Ok, now it's time to rumble & take off the gloves. Dopey Derek Schmidt & his low-life fellow wannabe Legislature got their way too long. Time to throw these bumbs OUT NOW!

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KsTwister 7 years, 3 months ago

Well Wilbur, as they have asked for repairs of $300,000 ($305,797) for the multi-cultural resource building - a building that doesn't even exist anymore. Lets start with that one.

Any requests of the Government or States for money usually are inflated requests to begin with and if they don't ask for enough $$ they will not get enough for their next budget allotments. Its a game for taxpayers dollars, some people are just tired of playing. So if you look at KU's(or any colleges wish list) much of what you will see will be for projected(presumed needs) and usually not tied to education at all. EXAMPLE:

Included in the total $181,930,636 KU officials are seeking to repair or upgrade buildings on their campus include:Allen Fieldhouse, $8,176,385; Anschutz Sports Pavilion/Anderson Strength, $1,780,272; chancellor's guest house, $55,136; chancellor's garage, $29,872; chancellor's residence, $522,019; Facilities Operations storage buildings, their main building and shops for a total of about $1.4 million; hangar buildings at the Lawrence Municipal Airport, $378,635; the Horejsi Family Athletic Facility, $170,854; KU's Memorial Stadium, $3,267,171; the Parrott Athletic Center, $508,700; the Wagnon Student Athlete Center, $833,420; and other facilities that, in the public's mind, might not be essential to the academic scene at KU... a need for $ 720,000 for lawn care, and an additional $486,000 for trees and bushes.

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Godot 7 years, 3 months ago

Fletch wrote: "As for criticisms that KU doesn't have good advising, that's just misinformation from bitter students."

No wonder KU academic advising is so miserable.

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Godot 7 years, 3 months ago

KsTwister, thanks for that very informative post. The $$378,635 for hangars at Lawrence Municipal Airport reminds me that Mayor Sue Hack cites the need for longer runways at the Municipal Airport as a reason for the increase in the sales tax.

No doubt we will see a request from KU in the future for money for a bigger jet to make use of the longer runway.

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KsTwister 7 years, 3 months ago

Or maybe they need bigger planes because Perkins can afford them now.

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LJD230 7 years, 3 months ago

As a KU alumnus who now lives on the East Coast I shudder when I read of the efforts underway by so many Kansas politicians to undermine the potential greatness of the University. Education, like health care ain't cheap, and the elected politicains of Kansas face a simple choice: fund the University to become a world class seat of learning or underfund it to such a degree that it becomes a mediocrity.

This contest between those who would grow the University to increased prominence and those who would settle for the status quo is most apparent with the mistaken notion that KUMC should not seek to affiliate with research and health care facilities across the border. The KU medical school do not enjoy a great reputation. If this very important academic unit of the University is to drastically improve both its academic standing and draw down research dollars it needs to expand its influence across state borders and grow intellectually and financially. The only way to do this is through affiliation with other research and health care institutions. As examples, the University of Vermont College of Medicine--ranked 7th in the education of primary care physicians--is affiliated with the Maine Medical Center and Columbia University School of Medicine in New York is the academic affiliate of Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas.

Expand your world view my good Kansans and reach for greatness. Medicocrity does not become you!

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rhd99 7 years, 3 months ago

Leaving the current Topeka politicians in office is not an option, folks. It is time to clean house ASAP.

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Godot 7 years, 3 months ago

Hey, LJD230, if you want to donate a few hundred million to remodel the chancellors house, and his guesthouse, and all the athletic facilities to keep Kansas from being mediocre, just knock yourself out.

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Godot 7 years, 3 months ago

Oh, yeah, and we need a few hundred thou to remodel a building that does not even exist anymore.

Mediocrity is rolling over; mediocrity is not asking questions; mediocrity is accepting the delusion that, because people have PhD's, they should not be the object of fiscal, intellectual, and moral scrutiny.

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jaydocky 7 years, 3 months ago

Two of the research buildings at the med center are ghost towns since the new building opened, yet they have to be heated and maintained. Plumbing leaks abound, fume hoods are inadquate, toilets leak onto lab floors. Perhaps remodeling into classrooms would work better than trying to update obsolete lab buildings at great cost for faculty who will never be recruited.

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Wilbur_Nether 7 years, 3 months ago

The multi-cultural resource building does exist, KsTwister--I parked by it about three weeks ago. It's a dilapidated old structure tucked in between the Military Science building and Summerfield Hall. I'll be surprised if $300K is enough to get it into shape--I've seen abandonded farm sheds that are in better shape. It's building number 72 on the map you can download at http://www.ku.edu/visit/maps.shtml

The argument that a building only supports the educational mission of KU if students attend classes in it is myopic. The rule of thumb shouldn't be "are students going to class in this building" but "does the work in this building support either the educational mission, the research mission, or both?"

The concept that the chancellor doesn't contribute to the educational mission of KU shocks me. It seems to me his residence and its associated buildings is legitimate--having the chancellor be resident is of great value to the University. Not to mention simply an expected benefit at this level.

With more than 11,000 acres of land on the Lawrence campus, the amount of money in KsTwister's post (both lawn and tree care) totals less than $10/acre each month. Again, seems like a pretty moderate amount to me--less per acre cost than I spend each week to have my neighbor's kid mow my yard....

Facilities shops and offices...again, a very necessary expense when you have dozens of buildings on 11,000+ acres.

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bugmenot 7 years, 3 months ago

Seriously. It's expensive to maintain a large research university. I'm sorry if those numbers sound enormous to you, but I doubt they're overinflated or cover unnecessary upkeep. It sounds to me like the most people on this board are willing to spend for education at KU are for bare bones necessities. Hell, it's pretty warm most of the year, why even have buildings? Why have a chancellor at all? Why do research? Let's just buy two or three professors' salaries and a megaphone to use in the stadium. That's a quality, world-renowned educational experience.

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Jackalope 7 years, 3 months ago

Baille - tried to go to KU some 40 years ago. Found it impossible to work the necessary jobs to pay the bill and go to KU at the same time. But, I did get an acceptable education elsewhere. And, having an acceptable education, I am aware that there is no such place as Ingalls County.

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Wilbur_Nether 7 years, 3 months ago

none2 noted that "There are plenty of classes at JCCC that are on par with what is taught at KU."

This is true, so far as it goes. The 100-level, and even the 200-level classes are pretty standard in terms of content, regardless of whether you are at JCCC, FHSU, PSU, KU, UMKC, Mizzou, Texas A&M, Swarthmore, etc. However JCCC only offers classes that are aimed at two-year degrees, and has very little for upper classmen.

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Jackalope 7 years, 3 months ago

KU is an expensive place unless you have a social, scholastic, or athletic scholarship. KU is a wonderful place to be, but it is not the only university in Kansas to supply an excellent education nor is it the only path to an excellent education.

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