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Archive for Sunday, August 30, 2009

Regents warn of budget cuts’ overall effects

State universities in Kansas have managed the recent budget cuts relatively well, but the Kansas Board of Regents warns of the overall effects the cuts could have. Regents warn cuts could have negative effects on enrollment and graduation numbers.

State universities in Kansas have managed the recent budget cuts relatively well, but the Kansas Board of Regents warns of the overall effects the cuts could have. Regents warn cuts could have negative effects on enrollment and graduation numbers.

August 30, 2009

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State universities have done a good job managing record budget cuts, but their work may come back to haunt them, higher education officials say.

“You try to make sure that the pain is avoided,” Kansas Board of Regents Vice Chairman Gary Sherrer said in speaking to university leaders at the regents retreat last week in Wichita.

But, he said, if legislators don’t realize that the 12 percent cut in state general funds over the past year has hurt the quality of higher education in Kansas, they will do nothing about it when the next legislative session starts in January.

“They don’t care about the emotional pain of your faculty,” Sherrer said.

What lawmakers will understand is when universities start considering a limit on enrollment, which means some Kansas taxpayers’ children won’t be able to go to a certain school. Or that students may be turned away from nursing programs because of budget cuts. Or that graduation rates will decrease because students aren’t getting the kind of attention they need.

To that end, the universities and regents will compile information and data on the effects of budget cuts on operations and students in preparation for the upcoming session. The schools have already listed areas where they have cut, but many haven’t stated the effect of those cuts.

Sherrer said the effort by the universities and regents to inform the Legislature is not meant as a scare tactic, but it is just being honest.

“It’s important for the regents to be aggressive in getting the message out there between now and January,” he said.

Regent Donna Shank said that in the minds of some, higher education faces an image problem because new buildings are being constructed on campuses at the same time that universities are complaining about a lack of funding.

“We have this perception issue,” Shank said.

But most people don’t realize that many of those buildings are privately funded, university officials say.

Another perception problem erupted last week when it was reported that former KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway will earn $340,352 per year for the next two academic years as part of a compensation package. Hemenway is currently on a one-year sabbatical.

State Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, who is chair of the House-Senate Legislative Post Audit Committee, criticized the deal.

“We’re dealing with trying to save every dollar we can. I can’t explain that to taxpayers,” Peck said.

But Regents President and Chief Executive Officer Reginald Robinson said the package for Hemenway was not out of line.

Next month, the regents will make its budget request to Gov. Mark Parkinson.

Fort Hays State University President Ed Hammond said that once the state’s revenue picture starts to improve, higher education needs to position itself to make up for the recent cuts.

“We are going to be far behind if we don’t start articulating our position,” he said.

Comments

Kontum1972 5 years ago

wow...cuts!!!!!....but the chancellor received some sweet perk's last week according to the headlines in the LJW.....

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KU_cynic 5 years ago

"Or that students may be turned away from nursing programs because of budget cuts."

I keep saying the same thing in response to these "chicken little" threats from university leaders and the regents.

Namely, if programs like nursing and the UKanTeach program address critical state needs (and they do), why would these programs be cut? Instead, academic programs that do not address critical needs or are not areas of strength should be cut and perhaps eliminated, and critical programs should be spared cuts and perhaps even receive more funds.

Sports management -- kill it. Indigenous peoples studies -- kill it. Women's studies -- kill it. Seldom taught foreign language programs -- kill them. Lesser quality and redundant professional school programs scattered across KU, KSU, WSU, etc. -- kill the weak programs and invest in the strong programs.

Threatening to turn away aspiring nurses or science and math teachers is so transparently insincere that it's no wonder university leaders are not taken seriously.

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yourworstnightmare 5 years ago

KUcynic's list of programs to be cut is just about right. In tough economic times, the university must decide what are its core strengths and goals. Many of these specialized programs simply cannot be maintained. They are "luxuries", compared to the core functions of a research university.

I would also add that many deans and provosts should be eliminated. They have bloated salaries and do very little of the work of the university. They rarely teach or do research, and instead sit aroun d with one another in meetings telling each other what they want to hear.

A corpulent administrator class is detrimental to a quality research university, and boy does KU have a bloated, entrenched administrator class.

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Boeing 5 years ago

Yeah, I think there are some creative ways to save money in Kansas:

1) As mentioned, get rid of duplicate programs, especially liberal arts. Say, K-State has History/Poli Sci/Languages (at least, more than the basic ones), and KU can have Economics/Biology/Chemistry/Physics. Keep the basics to fill gen ed requirements, but for majors, pick a school. Then, make the two schools easily transferable so one can, say, switch majors from Economics to Poli Sci and switch schools from Lawrence to Manhattan without skipping a beat, if they desire (at 18, very few people know what they want to do with their lives anyways)

2) In KC and/or Wichita, do a KU/K-State co-op, say like IUPUI in Indianapolis. Combine classes, save faculty, but have K-State students and KU students in one place, one location, using one building with one set of utilities, libraries, etc. Keep the main campuses but give the big population centers an option of staying nearby (I know there is Edwards Campus, but this would be a lot more substantial than that)

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Boeing 5 years ago

When I was an undergrad at KU, I heard that the professors up on campus were the babies about Internet classes, but that they may (may) be starting to realize that without them, KU will go the way of the dodo bird, especially as Internet classes become more accepted, respect and legitimate on a daily basis (those of you who say that isn't true are ignoring fact). Internet classes will grow, but I don't see KU or many other universities going all-Internet, nor should it (they).

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kujayhawk 5 years ago

The students not getting the attention they need/paid for has nothing to do with budget cuts.

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Godot 5 years ago

Corporate revenues, nationwide, are down nearly 30 per cent from their highs in 2007.

Expenditures, statewide, including universities, should be reduced by the same amount.

The dodo (a bird that hid its head in the sand in a misguided attempt to evade predators) is extinct. Darwin would be proud. It is time for the regents to stop emulating this loser.

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volunteer 5 years ago

Provost for Diversity. No wonder the deciders thought KU must have had too much money.

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Sean Livingstone 5 years ago

"Kontum1972 (Anonymous) says…

wow…cuts!!!!!….but the chancellor received some sweet perk's last week according to the headlines in the LJW….."

First of all, don't work out too much.

The average chancellor's pay for a tier-1 research university is about what he's getting, and among other Big-12 universities, he should be on the low side.

Next, his salary is not wholly funded by the state. If I can remember, it's only a certain percent. The rest are funded by endowment or something else. Cool down dude. That's not how Universities function. This is how all US universities function, KU is just one of them.

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Bruce Bertsch 5 years ago

The point of the article is that once the legislature cuts the funds and the universities adjust, they will never get increased funding. Given the number of non-grads in the legislature, its likely a good bet. The issue isn't one of what chancellor did this or that or how professors feel. Its about the State continually reducing the subsidies to all 6 schools and refusing to fund proper funds for maintenance. Thus, unless you want KU to become private, this is an issue that has to be addressed.

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Sean Livingstone 5 years ago

"Boeing (Anonymous) says…

When I was an undergrad at KU, I heard that the professors up on campus were the babies about Internet classes, but that they may (may) be starting to realize that without them, KU will go the way of the dodo bird, especially as Internet classes become more accepted, respect and legitimate on a daily basis (those of you who say that isn't true are ignoring fact). Internet classes will grow, but I don't see KU or many other universities going all-Internet, nor should it (they)."

Internet classes? I don't know what you're talking about. It's so hard to "force" students in most classes to do programming (non-computer science students). They all write bad evaluations to the level when they forced their professors to drop computer programming totally. Internet is already the thing of the past..... dude.

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David Roberts 5 years ago

I don't understand all of the talk about cuts. What's that about? The Dow is rockin'. It's gone up 2500 points since March. The banks have repaid their TARP loans. Car sales and home sales are way up lately. Happy days are here again. So why are we talking about cuts for????

BTW- If you can't tell, I'm being facetious. The US Government has been creating new money and borrowing like crazy to prop up the stock market, pay for cash4clunkers, the first-time homeowner's tax break, etc.

Soon, our Federal government will have to stop borrowing against our Grandchildren's future to pay it's way out.

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roger_o_thornhill 5 years ago

"...the smartest people are running the companies and government that created this disaster..."

This I simply cannot agree with. Example #1 W. Whatever you think of him, you cannot refute his "C" average at a school where "Gentlemen's Cs" are what you pay extra for. He is just one of many examples of people who squeak through school and get set up in life by the folks and their friends. Nepotism and Cronyism are the problems here.

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billbodiggens 5 years ago

The Universities and the Board of Regents are a closed club which is so used to using someone else's money that they forget what it is like to actually earn a living. The retired heads of the various universities ought to forego their "bonus' and help the students pay tuition. They do remember the students, don't they? Or is it just a private money well to them? If that's the case, let the well go dry and let the academians work for a living for once.

Telling us that we need to pay more money to them is quite like a scene from “Blazing Saddles” in which the Gov is telling his cohorts to "think, boys, we’ve got to protect our phony-baloney jobs." And not much different than the secret money paid to KSU’s failed but not forgotten football coach. It is all a scam. Nothing but a self indulgent scam. Public service is the last thing they are thinking of.

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