Archive for Thursday, November 4, 2010

Regents lobby legislators to restore $50 million in funding for higher education

November 4, 2010

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— Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Gary Sherrer on Thursday lobbied legislators for a $50 million funding increase for higher education, saying the schools and students have been hurt by recent budget cuts totaling $100 million.

“What we want back is half of what was taken away a year ago,” Sherrer told the Legislative Education Planning Committee.

As state revenues plummeted during the past several years, higher education was cut 12 percent, back to its 2006 level.

While members of the committee sympathized with the funding challenges, some noted the overall state budget problems that will be compounded when nearly $500 million in federal stimulus funds runs out in the next fiscal year.

“There is also some realism that the money we would like to have is not going to be there for awhile,” said state Rep. Steve Huebert, R-Valley Center.

Huebert echoed Gov.-elect Sam Brownback's proposals of freezing state spending, looking for more budget reductions to bridge the revenue gap and growing the economy.

Huebert said the regents should consider whether it would be more efficient to operate fewer community colleges. There are 19 community colleges in Kansas.

Sherrer said the cuts to higher education have led to dramatic tuition increases that will prevent some students from seeking a college education.

For the first time in Kansas history, tuition makes up a larger percentage of higher education funding than state appropriations.

In addition, he said, student debt has skyrocketed, and Kansas ranks 36th in per capita need-based financial aid to students.

“We are beginning to price our students out of a public education,” he said.

Despite the state's budget problems, Sherrer said the request for a $50 million increase was reasonable and was needed to cover increased costs, tackle a maintenance backlog and fund targeted initiatives to help solve critical workforce shortages in nursing, engineering and other areas. He said making no increase in funding actually would constitute an additional cut because of the increased costs facing higher education.

Asked about where the Legislature would find the funds for an increase, Sherrer, a former lieutenant governor, said it was his experience that when legislators want to bolster funding, even in the worst of times, they are able to do it.

“Where there is the will, there is always the way,” he said.

Comments

wastewatcher 4 years, 8 months ago

Where there is a will, there is a way. It would help if the Regents would heed this advice from one of their own and make real spending cuts and quit wasting money on nonessential, frivolous expenses. Is there a will within the Regents? Time will tell, but I will bet against it.

jhawks360 4 years, 8 months ago

No, Sherrer is a former Lt. Governor because he didn't run again.

I probably wouldn't have voted for him if he did, but he's spot on when it comes to higher education funding. The Legislature has cut higher education to the bone and students are having to take out even more loans to pay for the higher tuition that naturally results.

gccs14r 4 years, 8 months ago

The Citizens have spoken and said they hate education and want everyone to be as ignorant as they are. The Regents might as well start shutting down higher ed in Kansas, because they're going to be getting less money, not more.

Shardwurm 4 years, 7 months ago

What a condescending attitude. How much more money has to be poured into the bottomless pit called education before it's enough? If we ignorant citizens gave $10 billion a year to KU would it produce better results?

The answer is no. The Education Industry is bloated and borderline useless. Many people are tired of the never-ending demands of 'educators' (lol) who insist they need more and more and more and produce less and less and less.

It sounds like you're a part of the scam and you're crying because you haven't gotten a big enough pay raise the last couple of years while you sit around in your office surfing the web. If you are a part of 'education' I hope you've removed the mirrors from your house because I don't know how you could look at yourself.

JayhawksandHerd 4 years, 7 months ago

"...'educators'...insist they need more and more and more and produce less and less and less."

Got any sources to back this claim?

"It sounds like you're a part of the scam and you're crying because you haven't gotten a big enough pay raise the last couple of years while you sit around in your office surfing the web."

Says the person posting to an online forum in the middle of the workday.

JayhawksandHerd 4 years, 7 months ago

"...'educators'...insist they need more and more and more and produce less and less and less."

Got any sources to back this claim?

"It sounds like you're a part of the scam and you're crying because you haven't gotten a big enough pay raise the last couple of years while you sit around in your office surfing the web."

Says the person posting to an online forum in the middle of the workday.

geekyhost 4 years, 7 months ago

Ever compare the cost of KU to the cost of a for-profit university? Doh! Looks like KU, for all its expense, is still a real value.

geekyhost 4 years, 7 months ago

Ever compare the cost of KU to the cost of a for-profit university? Doh! Looks like KU, for all its expense, is still a real value.

KU_cynic 4 years, 8 months ago

Yeah, we'd hate to have KU hold up that new PhD program in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Think of all the negative impact on economic development!

I'm all for higher ed -- for both pure and self-interested reasons -- but the state's fiscal situation is still very unhealthy. Expecting a $50 million increase seems a bit naive.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

  1. Liberal arts education is not about economic development.
  2. That program, according to the article I read, will not require any new funding.

KU_cynic 4 years, 7 months ago

No new funding? That's BS.

What would that imply? No new funding, that is? Perhaps that KU has faculty members who can take on new PhD seminars and advising duties without any decrease in their attention to other duties? If that's the case, what are they doing now? That stipends to be spent on PhD students in this new program will be paid for by what? If there are extra funds for PhD stipends shouldn't they be used to get more PhD students in the best PhD programs at KU, rather than a new one for which students' placement prospects are likely to be dismal?

I agree that education is not ONLY about economic development. But that's the line of reasoning that KU leaders are taking to the legislature when asking for funds. Starting a new underwater basket-weaving studies PhD program in the current economic climate while simultaneously pleading poverty is just stupid public relations.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

I don't remember the details, but that's what the article claimed.

You can probably find it online and read it if you like - it wasn't very long ago - a simple search will find it, I'd think.

KU_cynic 4 years, 7 months ago

I don't disagree that the article quoted someone from KU as saying this new PhD program would have no costs. I disagree whether that statement is indeed factual.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 8 months ago

whatKU-cynic said! besides, I think KU just leaks 50mill easily when you look at it funny!

these are the "best and brightest?? and in major economic troubles brought on by their own Mr. Obama the best they can come up with is just "gimme?"

maybe these should come up with "creative solutions outside of simple cutting, and "gimme."

maybe they need to further tap the intellectual wealth created because of kansas tax payers' investments?

maybe they need to look for other forms of income?

maybe the entire model of the university needs to have some reevaluation?

gccs14r 4 years, 8 months ago

Maybe Kansas should adequately fund K-12 education so that future generations of Kansans will be able to understand what higher education is and why it's important to have a state-funded university system. It's clear that our current legislators do not understand the need for education, perhaps because they have not had the benefit of an adequate education.

Shardwurm 4 years, 7 months ago

It's clear that you don't understand that more money does not necessarily mean better.

How's that whole 'war on poverty' thing going by the way? Started in the mid 60s and billions and billions and billions of dollars later we're no closer to 'victory' than we were then.

Education is the same way. Live within your means. If you don't like it, move.

gr3sam 4 years, 7 months ago

Agreed!

"As state revenues plummeted during the past several years . . . . . . that will be compounded when nearly $500 million in federal stimulus funds runs out in the next fiscal year." What am I missing here? Have state revenues rebounded while I slept last night? Were the Tues. election results just a dream? Are conservatives going to revive the stimulus??

How about this: let's focus on K-12 funding in Kansas so that we have the best prepared kids! If not, it really doesn't matter how much money you give the regents, our kids will just be another casualty!

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 8 months ago

The solution is to close down Emporia State, Pitt State, and Fort Hays State. This would save hundreds of millions of dollars.

JayhawksandHerd 4 years, 7 months ago

"I fully agree. In addition, I would bet the private sector could provide a much better education for a lot less money."

Care to elaborate?

geekyhost 4 years, 7 months ago

Ever priced a private sector education? Yeah, I didn't think so.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 7 months ago

BTW Moocher, you should change your avatar to a politician who actually cries.

John Boehner.

jafs 4 years, 7 months ago

So you're basically against the whole idea of a liberal arts education.

Your version of education applies quite well to vocational training, which we also have currently.

If you could do it, would you simply remove all non vo-tech institutions?

gccs14r 4 years, 7 months ago

I bet you think the founding fathers were conservatives.

Teardrop 4 years, 7 months ago

"Asked about where the Legislature would find the funds for an increase, Sherrer, a former lieutenant governor, said it was his experience that when legislators want to bolster funding, even in the worst of times, they are able to do it.

“Where there is the will, there is always the way,” he said."

As there is at the university when they create unclassified professional staff positions or give them promotions which increase their pay but don't have the $$ to give university support staff raises even when duties are increased.

Kontum1972 4 years, 7 months ago

what happened to all this lottery money that was suppose to be targeted for this education stuff...that was one of the bill of goods that was laid out when the lottery came up for votes a few years ago....i sure as hell havent won any money on the lottery....so its not in my pocket.

Ricky_Vaughn 4 years, 7 months ago

I think we already know what the NO Party will say...

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

voevoda 4 years, 7 months ago

If you think education is expensive, consider the cost of ignorance. Most US states and most countries that are economically sound and are making progress invest heavily in public education--especially post-secondary education.
However, in most of those countries, there are stringent admissions requirements. Universities aren't expected to help ill-prepared students catch up on basic skills and knowledge. Unprepared students who are more motivated to engage in social activities than in coursework cost the public millions of dollars a year--not to mention what they cost themselves and their families.
Most faculty work 55+ hour weeks, year-round, vacation times included. They not only teach students, but they work extensively with them outside of class to help them succeed. And they engage in the research that advances knowledge--why course content today doesn't look like it did a century ago.
The derisive comments about women's studies and the course on human sexuality explain clearly why such courses are valuable.

Bob Forer 4 years, 7 months ago

"Most faculty work 55+ hour weeks, year-round, vacation times included"

Nonsense. My father taught at KU for years, so i tend to have a little knowledge. What is the authority for your assertion?

voevoda 4 years, 7 months ago

I am personally acquainted with dozens of current KU faculty, as well as faculty at other Kansas institutions. I know how much and how seriously they work. I think that that knowledge trumps yours--children rarely encounter their parents' friends in a work-related capacity.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 7 months ago

Depends on the department and area a faculty member is in.

In the humanities and social "sciences", I agree that some professors do not work that hard. they teach their classes and go home.

In engineering and sciences, however, faculty also run research labs that take as much time as can be devoted to them. In engineering and the sciences, faculty easily spend 55+ hours a week at work. In many cases more.

voevoda 4 years, 7 months ago

Wrong, yourworstnightmare. Most of the professors I know best are in the humanities and social sciences and fine arts. They work just as long hours as the scientists--just not on campus. They take library materials home, and increasingly using professional materials available electronically. If you check the studies I cited, you'll see that with the exception of medical school clinical faculty, the 48-60 hours per week holds true across disciplines.

ksjayhawk74 4 years, 7 months ago

This is a part of the Tea Party agenda, taking the Country BACK. That means taking back the education system about 90 years.

Sure it will make an entire future generation ignorant, but it teaches Obama a lesson about how much we don't like him.

slowplay 4 years, 7 months ago

"Sure it will make an entire future generation ignorant".. Too late. The US is dropping quickly as the one the most educated countries in the world. It's literacy rate is falling even faster. Ironically, the countries like Canada, Norway, Finland etc. etc who are now becoming the world leaders in higher ed are all fully government funded. Education is becoming a Catch 22. The less education we receive, the less we want to support education, the less educated we become.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 7 months ago

Healthcare_ Moocher said: "I fully agree. In addition, I would bet the private sector could provide a much better education for a lot less money."

I will reply this time without calling H_M an idiot, lest my comment be removed.

Are you serious? Have you ever looked into private university tuition?

Baker University, our local private institution, charges $600 a credit hour. KU charges around $200.

H_M, you might want to get your facts straight before proving that you do not know what you are talking about.

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