Archive for Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Regents discuss budget shortfall for higher education

A group of KU students gather outside of Fraser Hall after class Wednesday. All five attended high school together at St. Thomas Aquinas in Overland Park and meet regularly between classes to stay in touch. From left are senior Wes Meixelsperger; his brother Erik, a freshman; and freshmen Caitlin Riley, Dallas Williams and Rose Reynolds.

A group of KU students gather outside of Fraser Hall after class Wednesday. All five attended high school together at St. Thomas Aquinas in Overland Park and meet regularly between classes to stay in touch. From left are senior Wes Meixelsperger; his brother Erik, a freshman; and freshmen Caitlin Riley, Dallas Williams and Rose Reynolds.

November 19, 2008

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— Kansas’ budget director on Wednesday stood before members of the Kansas Board of Regents and asked for their thoughts on what he called a very tough budget situation.

Regents obliged. And they’ll continue discussions today on how budget cuts could affect higher education.

“Right now, today, we’re spending more than we take in,” Duane Goossen told the regents, noting that could continue because of reserves the state has built up in previous years. But if that does continue, Goossen said, “By the end of this fiscal year our balances will be gone.”

The state still must factor gaming revenue into its calculations. But gaming certainly cannot make up the state’s shortfall.

“It’s not a great picture at all,” he said. “There are only hard decisions.”

Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway said KU would respond to the anticipated budget cuts by looking for efficiencies, including in personnel.

“Every opening you have in the university, you have to assess: ‘Is this a position you need to fill,’” while ensuring that the quality of education does not suffer, Hemenway said.

The state’s proposed cuts are centered in three areas. First, the state is seeking a 3 percent cut this fiscal year. After that, the state will ask for an additional 4 percent cut next fiscal year.

Specific programs also are being targeted in an effort to make up the total budget deficit: $15 million from deferred maintenance, $15 million from the KU pharmacy expansion in Lawrence and Wichita, and $2.5 million from the KU graduate medical education program in Wichita.

Regent Dan Lykins noted that more than two-thirds of the state’s budget is spent on K-12 education and social services — areas that officials have said are protected from cuts.

“We’re willing to take a bite and take a hit,” Lykins said. “But doesn’t everybody have to suffer a little bit?”

And Regent Christine Downey-Schmidt said the board should make it clear to the Legislature that money that already had been allocated to higher education was important and that universities could not use tuition as a “back door” out of the situation.

The last time the state needed such drastic cuts nearly coincides with the beginning of KU’s “tuition enhancement program,” which saw the price of attending KU nearly double over five years.

Comments

Danimal 6 years, 5 months ago

It's time for KU to privatize. This will mean that alums will need to give their donations to academics instead of athletics, but it would be worth it in the long run.

davidsmom 6 years, 5 months ago

Cutting money from deferred maintenance cannot continue. Eventually you will have buildings that are uninhabitable. Cutting money from health care education will only contribute to the anticipated crisis in the workforce. This is a horrible place to make cuts. What about making the cuts in something less critical?

Shardwurm 6 years, 5 months ago

The answer is simple - burden the middle class even more by raising tuition. Afterall, $1200 for a 3-hour class taught by a grad student is a bargain!

deskboy04 6 years, 5 months ago

So, KU is dependent on my tax dollars? I thought that the way everyone acts up there that they are better than the common taxpayer.

beawolf 6 years, 5 months ago

"The answer is simple - burden the middle class even more by raising tuition. Afterall, $1200 for a 3-hour class taught by a grad student is a bargain!".... Perhaps you would prefer that no class was offered at all.Someone earlier recommended privatization, if that becomes a reality the cost would escalate to a point where only a privileged few could afford to attend. Academic scholarships would no longer be offered. It boils down to one point. How important is higher education to the state legislature? It is a national conundrum as well. Perhaps as a country we should stop educating our students at high school?

Shardwurm 6 years, 5 months ago

"Perhaps you would prefer that no class was offered at all."Laughable argument. In fact, just the sort of snooty stance taken by educators from kindergarten on up. You can be replaced.Education is the biggest scam in the country, soaking up billions of dollars and providing less and less value with each passing year...yet teachers at all levels continue to act like they're gods on earth. Don't forget that we have students in school and you cannot fool us as we know what's going on in the classroom.To answer your argument - If I'm going to pay for a Professor to teach the class then I want a professor teaching it. If not, then charge me what a Grad-Student is worth - $300 perhaps?

beawolf 6 years, 5 months ago

"To answer your argument - If I'm going to pay for a Professor to teach the class then I want a professor teaching it. If not, then charge me what a Grad-Student is worth - $300 perhaps?"What makes you think your cost per class doesn't already factor in the cost of a grad student? Perhaps without the TA your cost would double?You trash the education system but do not seem to have an alternative. For the last ten years higher ed has taken drastic measures to reduce costs because of state funding reductions. Unfortunately, the current model has always been state dependent because most students would not be able to afford college. If the true cost was passed on directly to the consumer (student) the tuition rates would be tripled. Is there room for improvement? Yes, especially in regards to older, tenured faculty who are skating by on reputation rather than inspiration. "soaking up billions of dollars and providing less and less value with each passing year" ....this statement has no basis for fact, in fact I would argue the opposite! Your diploma is actually worth more per dollar spent than it would have been 10-15 years ago.

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