Archive for Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bill would raise local taxes, tuition to pay for university maintenance

Regents are opposed to proposal

March 28, 2007


— Douglas County residents could face a tax increase to pay for repairs at Kansas University under a plan proposed by House Republican leaders Wednesday.

The bill would also increase tuition for non-resident students and prohibit schools, such as KU, from dedicating portions of tuition increases to providing student financial aid.

House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Sharon Schwartz, R-Washington, said the measure represented a good starting point of discussion to try to fix maintenance problems at higher education institutions.

"We may need to tweak some things, but at the same time I feel this at least a step in the right direction to try to address the issue of deferred maintenance," Schwartz said.

Under House Bill 2593, counties that are home to regents schools would be allowed to increase the sales tax by one-tenth of one cent to help finance infrastructure improvements. Bill sponsors said the plan also allowed for a property tax increase, although the language for that was not in the draft legislation.

The tax increases would be decided by the county commissioners.

Universities, including KU, have said they have a $663 million backlog of repairs and maintenance projects on their campuses.

The bill would also increase non-resident student tuition with the revenue going toward maintenance. In addition, it would make $300 million available for low-interest loans to regents schools and community colleges.

Reggie Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Board of Regents, opposed the measure.

He said limiting tax increases to counties where state universities are located "appears to imply that the responsibility of taking care of state buildings rests with entities other than the state of Kansas and with only a subset of Kansas citizens."

Schwartz said the committee would continue discussing the measure next week.

Lawmakers have failed to come up with a plan to address deferred maintenance, although numerous proposals have been floated.


Centrist 11 years, 1 month ago

I don't attend KU and neither does any member of my family, yet I will be asked to help pay for it.

This is B.S ...

How about focusing on education instead of the ridiculous obsession with collegiate sports .. then perhaps there'd be more money for the right purposes - educating students, building maintenance, etc.

Lars Larson 11 years, 1 month ago

I thought they were going to raise the price of the turnpike to help fund state university repairs. What happened to that?

caveatguy 11 years, 1 month ago

This is what Lawrence people receive because Hemenway spends money like he did on his office remodel. Who can blame the legislature for being upset about that.

anotherdayinparadise 11 years, 1 month ago

I believe that I have given quite enough of my money to the University over my years in school there, state schools should be funded by state programs, are we going to be footing the bill for Baker soon also.... Bad idea

craigers 11 years, 1 month ago

caveatguy, then they should address that issue not just hand the bill to the counties that house "State" universities. KU, K-state, and other schools that they are speaking of are state universities and the burden should be shared by all, not just those that live in the city. This is disrespectful to those cities the universities are and the congress needs to rethink this solution. They are being irresponsible by not dealing with the problem and finding a fair solution.

newsreader 11 years, 1 month ago

I guess I didn't realize that the University of Kansas was a County University instead of a State Univestity...

Berserk 11 years, 1 month ago

Funny that KU can't make it by themselves without the massive increase in tuition.. the new pay scale seating for Allen fieldhouse... the upped parking ticket prices and not to mention the grants that keep flowing in like mad money.

Thanks KU, for lowering your professor and teaching standards to bring in grant money.

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 1 month ago

The do-nothing Kansas legislature again proposes a ridiculous bill to address a problem they do not care about. This bill is flippant and divisive and is merely a slap in the face to Kansas higher education. Sharon Schwartz and the legislature are embarrassments.

If counties with regents' institutions are responsible to pay for university maintenance, then it stands to reason that students from other counties should pay a higher tuition (an out-of-county tuition).

Actually, this is sounding better and better.

Students from Washington County, home to the honorable Shaon Schwartz, would be required to pay higher tuition at KU than students from Douglas County.

I like it...

Jace 11 years, 1 month ago

Folks, the state of Kansas is hurting financially.....this is just one more attempt at fixing its financially woes!

Let's see.....charging higher tolls.....charging tolls where none existed before.....making Douglas County residensts pay for KU university structural repairs....expand gambling operations......

By the way, why should only Douglas County residents be made to pay for KU repairs?---That hardly seems fair to me!

Man!, for a while now I kinda knew that the state of Kansas was in tough shape dollars and cents wise.....but every time I see or hear about a "latest bill proposal" (to drum up more money).....I begin to realize more and more just how much financial trouble Kansas has gotten itself into!!!

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 1 month ago

2006 KU graduates from Washington County who would have been required to pay out-of-county tuition at KU:

Allen Hilbert Dean Washington, KS Richard Dean PD - Doctor of Pharmacy Pharmacy

Kellen Douglas Kruse Greenleaf, KS Douglas and Monica Kruse BSB - Bachelor of Science in Business/Accounting&Bachelor; of Science in Business/Finance Accounting

Dustin David Rogge Palmer, KS Bruce and Nancy Rogge PD - Doctor of Pharmacy Pharmacy

Morgan Janelle Snapp Washington, KS Jon and Terri Snapp BSB - Bachelor of Science in Business/Business Administr Business Administration

Jace 11 years, 1 month ago

Reggie Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Board of Regents, opposed the measure.

He said limiting tax increases to counties where state universities are located "appears to imply that the responsibility of taking care of state buildings rests with entities other than the state of Kansas and with only a subset of Kansas citizens

Bull's eye!

I agree!

JerkStore 11 years, 1 month ago


But it has to be renamed 'University of Douglas County', or 'Lawrence University'.

No more mention of Kansas.

guesswho 11 years, 1 month ago

Ditto, Jace. KU and the other universities needing repairs are a STATE responsibility.

Mari Aubuchon 11 years, 1 month ago

Will residents of other counties have higher tuition as a result?

Thought not.

craigers 11 years, 1 month ago

Maybe with this measure, the Lawrence residents that go to KU should get free tuition. What do you all think?

caveatguy 11 years, 1 month ago

Craigers, I agree with your 11:43 view I am just pointing out how some others view KU. KU and other STATE universities are a STATE responsibility. Note that this does not include Washburn or community colleges.

TheNorthlander 11 years, 1 month ago

I love my alma mater and came here from Chicago to attend a decent university...Rock Chalk Jayhawk!!

But why does KU have to rely on the backs of those in Lawrence and Douglas county???

Is it not a state-funded university?

Since the 1960s, the State of Kansas has demonstrated consistent lower funding every single year. I believe the University of Kansas is now funded by the actual state at only about 20%. The rest of these funds come from donations, contributions and tuition.

If taxes have to be raised by Douglas County and the city of much is the State of Kansas even providing for THEIR state university???


Eddie Muñoz 11 years, 1 month ago

This is stupid.

The worst part, in my opinion, is that it would "... prohibit schools, such as KU, from dedicating portions of tuition increases to providing student financial aid."

Jamesaust 11 years, 1 month ago

So, reviewing news stories this week ---

(A) when the city has to address traffic problems (on Iowa near Harvard) caused by the proximity of the Univerisity, or

(B) when members of the football team are engaged in gunplay downtown,

(C) or a host of other costs for infrastructure, courts, fire, water runoff, housing, etc.,

the cost and burden of addressing these State of Kansas created expenses falls wholly upon Douglas County AS WELL AS the burden of paying for the University directly?

Sounds an awful lot like the Maoist practice of dispensing political prisioners with a bullet to the head ... and then billing the family for the expense of the bullet!

Jace 11 years, 1 month ago

You know something? Every time I see a proposal such as this one....I think about maybe moving out to western Kansas!---Then I wouldn't have to worry about paying higher property taxes to support a state school...and I wouldn't have to worry about paying a higher toll on the Kansas Turnpike...

But then again.....what the heck would I do with myself living out in western Kansas somewhere??!! Man!, I'd go out of my mind! lol

kuthruandthru 11 years, 1 month ago

I agree that the solution should be state wide, but what about, "The bill would...prohibit schools, such as KU, from dedicating portions of tuition increases to providing student financial aid."

That was a big part of the how KU justified the earlier tuition increases, so would that money be taken away from financial aid?

As for the comment regarding the payscale for Allen Fieldhouse, athletics and the institution are not interchangeable. There are laws limiting how money from different sources can be spent.

BJ 11 years, 1 month ago

I know a few people that work or have worked in for the KU maintenance department. There are people that really work in that department, but most folks do as little as possible, and get paid quite handsomely. Maybe we can start there before we make every citizen pay for this crap!

FatTony 11 years, 1 month ago

Whoever uses the agruement that the focus of monies spent on athletics should be diverted instead to paying for the needs of the Campus should stop and realize that KUAC is separate from the university and additionally self sufficient.

Jamesaust 11 years, 1 month ago

Can KU charge "Out-of-County" tuition?

compmd 11 years, 1 month ago

KU has made it clear that it operates as a business, yet every time it makes a bad business decision, it goes crying to the state asking for money. well, KU, are you a business or not? if you are to be treated as a business, then its time for the board of directors (regents) to act in the interests of the business and fire the CEO (chancellor). Yes, Chancellor Bob, I'm calling for your head.

The regents need to exercise some power over the idiocy now running KU. If the legislature is drafting bills contrary to the opinions of the regents, something is very wrong. the legislature is not specifically charged with acting in the interests of the university or its mission.

Hemenway has let this school fall apart under his watch, all the while happily accepting pay raises and all sorts of perks. Its time for blame to be placed and responsibility to be accepted. If nothing is done, this university (and the state) will become a joke; it is well on its way.

OnlyTheOne 11 years, 1 month ago

Close it! The only thing good about it is the Basketball team.

TheNorthlander 11 years, 1 month ago


Come on now, the Chancellor is subjected to work with the funding it is provided by the State of Kansas. This funding has been decreased every year for the past three decades.

KU is virtually subsidized by out-of-state tuition dollars, which has always been a bargain for we outta-staters.

The Board of Regents and now the KS legislature obviously feels as though it is the responsibility of out-of-state tuition dollars and county tax increases to pay for the university.

KU may as well privatize and distance themselves from Topeka entirely.

MeeMa8 11 years, 1 month ago

I agree with yourworst..., everyone outside of douglas county should have to pay higher tuition as a non-resident. this is one of the dumbest ideas i have heard. why are we being penalized for living here?

TheNorthlander 11 years, 1 month ago

And why are we, outta staters, penalized for choosing to go your state university that your state politicians haven't funded adaquately?

TheNorthlander 11 years, 1 month ago

It is a state university, the University of Kansas. It would be the state of Kansas responsible to keep it up-and-running.

It is not the University of Illinois at Kansas, even though about 30% of the out-of-state student population comes from Illinois. It is also not the role of Texas, Illinois, California and Missouri students and families to pay for your shortcomings.

bevy 11 years, 1 month ago

Northlander - If I want to go to school in Illinois, GUESS WHAT? I have to pay out of state tuition. That's not just a Kansas thing, it's an everywhere thing.

I was pleased to see one of the folks involved answer my biggest gripe with this in the article. It is a STATE institution and should be funded with STATE dollars.

So how about some of that lottery money that was supposed to go for education? The Lottery was supposed to be such a boon for the state, but it appears the money is going elsewhere.

Also, I'm pretty sure the Kansas Turnpike is a private corporation, not owned by the state. Please correct me if I'm wrong on that one.

OnlyTheOne 11 years, 1 month ago

If anybody would like to contact Ms Schwarts here eMail address is: and her fax number is: 785-325-2419 If you'd prefer you could eMail her at the capitol: And if you want to see all of the places of "higher" education (NOT) in Washington County try this:

We want the benefits of places of higher education but don't want to absorb the necessary costs!

Sigmund 11 years, 1 month ago

I say we hire the illegal aliens ... uh ummmm, I mean "undocumented workers" who get in state tuition for $3.50/hour to do maintenance.

shockchalk 11 years, 1 month ago

BJ..........."and get paid quite handsomely." You obviously don't know anyone who works for KU in the maintenance sector or you would realize that most if not all are VERY underpaid. Some are even below federal poverty guidelines. I don't agree with this new idea of financing KU's deferred maintenance problem. It's a joke to suggest that the residents here in Douglas County should shoulder the burden but please don't blame the maintenace tech out here earning much less than their peers on the outside. They don't make the decisions about where the dollars are spent. They are the ones who have to try to fix more with less, year after year.

ilovelucy 11 years, 1 month ago


lunacydetector 11 years, 1 month ago

why can't KU get their money from the $1 Billion strong KU Endowment?

Jace 11 years, 1 month ago

Northlander.....see, this is why the cost of college tuition has far and away exceeded the cost of living/inflation over the past 20 plus years!

Many states, when drowing in debt (like Kansas is now) take the easy way out and raise out-of-state tution (big time).'re point is well taken!

Apparently, whenever a state like Kansas gets/finds itself in hot water financially.......hey!, just make them out-of-staters pay for it, that's all!

A while back (January 2006), I read a rather interesting piece in the KC Star about how Kansas basically went nuts with its imaginary credit card....and the writer basically said that by 2007 the state of Kansas was gonna be in a world of hurt as far as trying to figure out how to pay the piper!---And the prediction/outlook at that time (early 2006) was that the blank was gonna hit the fan for the state of Kansas in fiscal year 2007-2008....and that is certainly shaping up to be the case!

cyclelust 11 years, 1 month ago

sigmund- where do you get your information. I am in all respects a resident of Kansas but KU refuses to acknowledge me as such. I pay twice the money to attend a university that is falling apart. Have you walked through Wescoe hall lately? It's disgusting- the carpet is coming up, the ceiling is missing tiles and the smell is horrible. Not to mention, six faculty members whose offices were located in Wescoe, have died from brain tumors. But yet, they are building onto this monstrosity instead of tearing it down- which is what should happen. Where did the money to add on to Wescoe come from? We have all this "deferred maintenance" that is crucial to repair but yet the university is adding new space to a building that should be destroyed. KU has screwed me financially and does the same to others. Now they want to raise the tuition for those who are already getting it up the a$$?

The reason they won't grant me instate tuition- I can't prove that I will live in Kansas indefinitely. I jumped through every beauracratic hoop they required but no dice. Do the board of regents have a crystal ball that I am not aware of? How does one prove intent? After being screwed over so badly, I have ho desire to stay here. I see KU as a corrupt entity that doesn't give a sh!t about the students. I have no alleigance for a university that cares more about making money and the basketball team than the students or education.

I can't wait for that first alumni call asking me to donate money to the university- HA! They'll wish they never called me.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 1 month ago

Mush of this problem began back in the early nineties when the legislature began playing politics with the so called revenue surplus. They decided to cut taxes and allowed the cookie jar to go empty as if rainy day situations never happen. When less tax revenues began to show the politicians did nothing and the cookie jar began to hit bottom.

What the majority republicans are not saying is that because university towns gain revenue from universities that it should be college town responsibility. Considering that, the next time the capitol building or any other state building located in Topeka needs rehab work that then becomes the responsibility of Topeka,Kansas.

captain_poindexter 11 years, 1 month ago

this is crap.

if they pass this, students from outside douglas county should be forced to pay higher tuition.

if we have to pay they have to pay

such crap crap crap.

machiavelli 11 years, 1 month ago

I received a B.S. in Economics from KU in '99, but this...well, this is B.S. KU economics in '07.

KU tuition is getting completely out of control, and this situation is beyond ridiculous. KU doubled tuition in the last five years. Where did that money go?

Doubled? Hell, tuition is now THREE TIMES what I paid back in '96-'97. THREE GOD DAMNED TIMES MORE. You would think that KU students would be receiving a corresponding increase in the value of their KU education along with their whopping tuition bills...but then you would be wrong. In the last ten years, KU's reputation as a research facility has fallen dramatically. Meanwhile, the atmosphere on campus (compared to my experience) is so stultifying and hostile to students, I immediately wanted to leave the place the last time I visited.

I guess it would be, you know, rude of me to ask how all this new tuition money is being spent to, you know, REPAIR BROKEN STUFF. I'm sorry. Was I rude?

You know, every day we keep reading about "crumbing KU classrooms." In 1996, I distinctly remember reading an article in the UDK about "crumbling classrooms" and what "could be done about the issue." About three years later, I was a little annoyed (but not terribly surprised) when I saw a news report on TV about "crumbling KU classrooms." Three years after that..."crumbling KU classrooms." Cut to the present day, and we are now faced with an issue that, if one is to believe the media, threatens to rip apart the very fabric of reality as we know it--"crumbling KU classrooms."

Meanwhile, KU's got two new "weight rooms," a big, ugly addition to Allen Fieldhouse, and an even bigger and uglier "political institute." Now, when I get nostaligic about my salad days as a college student in the Clinton years, I can go to the "politcal institute" to see pictures of Clinton giving a speech at that very same "political institute." If I give a big enough donation to the "political institute," do I get a blow job?

Another writer hit it on the head when they suggested that KU stop spending so much money on their sports programs. I agree with that assertion so much, I want to marry it. The other day, I almost cried when I saw that stupid, ugly looking abomination of a weight - training facility or practice field or whatever it is that they're building next to Potter Lake. Totally destroys the beauty of one of (what used to be) the prettiest spots on (what used to be) one of the prettiest campuses.

This..."obsession" with college sports is an absolute sickness when one considers the amount of money that pours into these programs. Money that could, of course, be put to better use with NO LOSS of "sports prestige" or whatever you idiots think.

Jace 11 years, 1 month ago

Great post, Machi! I agree!

I'm not sure how much longer it will be before it gets zapped.....but a great post by you, for sure!

yourworstnightmare 11 years, 1 month ago

Jamesaust queried: "Can KU charge "Out-of-County" tuition?"

See my 11:53am and noon posts. Might not be such a bad idea after all...

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