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Archive for Friday, June 8, 2007

Campus funding still not a fix-all

June 8, 2007

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— A new plan to address a backlog of repairs at state universities hasn't even started - and already calls for more money have been raised.

"This is probably not enough," Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton, said earlier this week, as a House-Senate committee and the Kansas Board of Regents started mapping out a repair and renovation plan.

During the legislative session that ended last month, lawmakers approved a package that provides approximately $380 million in extra funding, tax breaks and loans to make repairs at state universities, community colleges and technical schools.

But House Bill 2237 fell far short of the $663 million that state universities said they needed, in addition to the $150 million requested by community colleges. Kansas University's "mission critical" backlog alone was $181 million for the Lawrence campus and KU Medical Center.

The backlog of projects has formed, university officials have said, because of underfunding.

As efforts get under way to fix priority projects, leaders said the so-called deferred maintenance problem will only worsen in coming years, even with the new plan.

"Quite honestly, passage of House Bill 2237 doesn't resolve this whole issue," said Sen. Dwayne Umbarger, R-Thayer, chairman of the Senate budget-writing committee.

"It's a step in the right direction, but this debate will continue," he said.

In the fiscal year that starts July 1, the legislation will add $30 million to the already standard $15 million for a total of $45 million to address deferred maintenance projects.

Eric King, director of facilities for the regents, said universities need $84 million each year to keep up with maintenance projects.

"We're going to be back in deferred maintenance," King said.

While additional funds will be needed to avoid another deferred maintenance backlog, King said, the regents will be working with schools to improve management and use of facilities.

Later this month the regents are scheduled to adopt a formal five-year project, which will be reviewed by legislators in July.

Comments

Shardwurm 7 years, 6 months ago

How about cutting professor salaries? Afterall, many of the freshman and sophomore classes are taught by grad students under the 'supervision' of the professor. Why should we pay top dollar for student teachers? Cut the salaries and put that money towards repairs.

In no time you'll have everything paid for.

crono 7 years, 6 months ago

Shardwurm, it's a lot cheaper to have those grad students teaching the classes than hiring more professors. And I hardly think cutting professor's salaries (or increasing class load) is the answer if KU wishes to remain competitive with similar Research I state universities.

lunacydetector 7 years, 6 months ago

why not just go "virtual school" then the state can sell off their buildings and the taxpayers wouldn't have to get nailed all the time?

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years, 6 months ago

If the students' buildings require repairs, increase the students' tuition.

Don't charge me for it.

deec 7 years, 6 months ago

Maybe there aren't enough maintenance staff to keep up with the repairs. Maybe they don't have any money in the budget for the supplies needed to make repairs. Maybe the state should have adequately funded maintenance of 63% of the state-owned buildings for the last 2 decades.

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