Topeka Lawmakers are waiting until the last moment to try to fix crumbling college classrooms.
On day two of the wrap-up session Thursday, the Senate approved a plan to patch up repairs at universities, but the House failed to advance a proposal.
"We need to start the process to get this off of dead center," said state Rep. Bill Feuerborn, D-Garnett.
But Feuerborn's measure to provide $50 million in additional funds to universities, including Kansas University, died on a 61-61 vote.
Even so, state Rep. Sharon Schwartz, R-Washington, and chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, scheduled a meeting for today to consider another funding plan.
"I think we'll come up with something," she said.
Meanwhile, the Senate folded into its budget plan a measure that would pump tens of millions of dollars into repairs and make available another $200 million in no-interest loans.
The six regents universities have said they have a backlog of $663 million in repairs and maintenance, which they blame on inadequate funding over the years.
But lawmakers have been at odds over ways to pay the bill.
Proposals to increase taxes, tuition and turnpike tolls have all died.
On Thursday, some House members weren't sympathetic to the universities.
State Rep. Kasha Kelley, R-Arkansas City, said the Kansas Board of Regents should have been on top of the problem before it got so costly. "Why aren't the regents doing this?" she said.
State Rep. Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, spoke against Feuerborn's proposal because he said it was only a short-term solution.
The Senate plan would provide $45 million in new funds in the fiscal year that starts July 1. In addition, starting in 2011, it would kick in another $10 million per year.
The proposal would also provide matching funds of up to $5 million for technology projects and establish tax credits for private donors helping to defray maintenance costs.
The proposed $200 million loan fund would be available to universities, community colleges and technical colleges.