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Archive for Friday, April 27, 2007

Another plan for university repairs fails in Legislature

April 27, 2007

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— 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.

Comments

shockchalk 7 years, 8 months ago

State Rep Kasha Kelley should probably do a little research before she accuses the regents for being the problem. The Board of Regents have been telling the Legislature for years that these buildings are in dire need of repairs. But now, just as then, they offer no real solutions, just shame and blame toward the State Universities.

Alia Ahmed 7 years, 8 months ago

Perhaps we should have a bake sale to raise money for our own infrastructure upkeep while our government spends billions of dollars destroying and rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure.

SeaFox 7 years, 8 months ago

It's interesting they are building a new addition onto the Kansas Union in the middle of all this. KU seems to think they have the money to add more buildings when they can't keep up on maintenance on the ones they already have.

johngalt 7 years, 8 months ago

Lots of entiteis want govt $$ - but why is it just the Regents that have this big of "need"?

All others seem to have budgeted for maintenance.

Any prudent manager plans for maintenance.

The Regents did do this.

oldgoof 7 years, 8 months ago

shockchalk's 11:01 am is correct... Regular briefings were occurring before Ms. Kasha ever got elected. Perhaps her socializing has prevented her from doing her legislative homework. . Seafox, the Kansas Union does not receive tax support for its new construction or repair and rehab. And the addition you note was a student initiative which also included a significant private gift.

oldgoof 7 years, 8 months ago

johngalt at 12:05 asks: "All others seem to have budgeted for maintenance" . Not true John. State agency capital budgets and operational budgets are quite separate. The notion frequently assumed here that state agency operational budgets cover capital repair needs is specious. Although some limited operational amounts have been diverted for emergency repair issues in the past few years, this is really quite new in Kansas.

Operational budgets of the universities have never been adjusted for the purpose of allowing repair and rehab, and so those limited expenditures have come from robbing instructional programming.

oldgoof 7 years, 8 months ago

I still predict the Legislature will address this issue in some way before everyone goes home. I understand the Senate and House are giving it another try today, which is encouraging.

prioress 7 years, 8 months ago

Get out the buckets; the roofs are leaking.

urthlvr 7 years, 8 months ago

rep. kasha kelley-what brilliance! /sarcasm/

i wonder where she has been hiding all these years the Regents have been asking for maintenance funding.

it was that sort of mentality that makes me very glad i left that town.

konzahawk 7 years, 8 months ago

We have the most ignorant people representing us that I have ever seen. Someone with a brain, PLEASE run for office.

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