Archive for Wednesday, February 7, 2007

KU student leaders lobby Kansas Legislature

Say turnpike toll hike is ‘creative’

February 7, 2007


— They came bearing broken pipes and chunks of crumbling buildings.

College students arrived at the Statehouse on Wednesday to meet with legislators about the problem of needed repairs on their campuses.

The students said their major goal was to seek help from the Legislature to address the problem of approximately $660 million in maintenance and repairs at regents universities.

"We're talking deferred maintenance," Chris Blackstone, a sophomore from Kansas University, said.

He and Jason Boots, the student body president, were among a handful of KU students who made the trip to the Capitol as part of Higher Education day.

The students displayed bits of pipe from a recent mishap at Kansas State University and falling debris from buildings on other campuses.

"Don't touch that," Ian Staples, legislative director for KU Student Senate, warned about the asbestos lined pipe. Staples said he didn't bring any examples from Kansas because the pipes from a recent break at KU were too disgusting to display.

Blackstone said a $575 million proposal by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, which includes increases in tolls to the Kansas Turnpike, was a "creative plan." He also said the students supported other parts of Sebelius' proposed budget for higher education.

Talk on the part of some lawmakers of increasing tuition to pay for the repairs was "not acceptable," Boots said.

"That's just putting the burden back on the students," he said. The upkeep of universities is a statewide responsibility, he said.

The students noted that tuition has increased dramatically over the past few years while the percentage of state funding has decreased for total operating expenses of the schools.


OvRtheRoad 11 years, 3 months ago

"That's just putting the burden back on the students," he said. The upkeep of universities is a statewide responsibility, he said.

Statewide, eh? Does he realize that the Turnpike doesn't go through Western and Northern Kansas?

Patrick Wilbur 11 years, 3 months ago

They should also be lobbying the university leadership. Hemenway is responsible for communicating priorities to the legislature. Maintenance is not sexy to attract donors, but if you do not make it a priority then you end up here.

Also - the students need to be educated regarding the Governor's proposal. The KTA is NOT designed to fund other activities. The Governor, Legislature, and Universities all need to show more leadership and accountability on this issue.

BigDog 11 years, 3 months ago

There should be a moratoium on any new buildings on state college campus' until they can show a viable plan for providing maintenance to them once they are constructed.

Maybe they could just increase liquor tax in college towns to fund the repairs.

Jamesaust 11 years, 3 months ago

We don't vote but listen to us anyway?

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 3 months ago

Gee, Jamesaust, you just described more than half the Kansas population.

kmat 11 years, 3 months ago

I think an audit needs to be done on all the wasted spending at KU that could have been used to fund these repairs.

How many thousands of dollars were spent to come up with the new lettering for the KU stationary last year? There are so many unnecessary expenses that could be cut (not to mention there are many full time employees that haven't really worked a "real" 40 hour week in years. Most employees are on the honor system to get their hours in. Most aren't honest - I know from having many friends work there.)

How about an increase the fees for parking passes and parking tickets?

No, they'll decide that those of us that live in the area will pay for it all.

fletch 11 years, 3 months ago

Big Dog: That's actually the policy that is in place at KU right now. Maintenance and upkeep has to be factored into building projects. That's why additional funding had to be secured for the Union, Multicultural Resource Center, and Rec Center when students paid for them.

justthefacts 11 years, 3 months ago

Bingo kmat!!

It's not that I am opposed to keeping univeristy property in good working order. I'm not. It does not pay, in the long run, to let facilities get run down. But why/how did the buildings get into this bad shape in the first place? Poor spending decisions over decades!

I am not a bit happy about being asked to pay more money (when what I have already doesn't stretch far enough) in order to cover such costs when those in charge of upkeep on these buildings have squandered money (more then enough to cover repair costs) on things I deem foolish or at least not as necessary.

Let those administrators who should have been making sure these buildings got repaired (from Chancellor to Facilities Operations Head) have their pay checks be cut in half (or more), and bid out projects to the lowest/best bidder (instead of keeping people employed who can hardly be found whenever they're needed)... then I'll believe those in charge of spending really are squeezing the most benefit out of every penny given to them by tax payers and students!

Kansas familes are now facing tough economic times. It's time governmental officials join us in the real world. You cannot keep spending more and more money while those who provide it have less and less money to spend!

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