Archive for Thursday, November 25, 2010

Regents appeal recommendation that higher education funding be frozen

November 25, 2010


— The state budget division has recommended that funding to higher education be frozen at its current level for a year.

But after two years of cuts, the Kansas Board of Regents has appealed the decision, requesting a $62 million increase.

“It is critically important to note that this funding, which would boost the Kansas economy, would be used in a strategically targeted manner to produce a clear return on investment,” said Andy Tompkins, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Board of Regents.

In the appeal to State Budget Director Duane Goossen, Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said she understands the state’s budget problems, but adds “Kansas will only be prosperous again if its businesses have educated workers to hire and if Kansas students can gain skills and education they need to fully contribute to the economy.”

Higher education has been cut more than $100 million, or 12 percent, over the past two years as state tax revenues decreased during the recession.

Gray-Little said cuts to KU have meant the elimination of approximately 200 positions, increased class sizes and made it more difficult for students to get the course they must have to graduate on time.

In addition, she said, the cuts have meant KU has not been able to keep up with the demand for engineers and nurses. And the prospect of a third year without a pay raise for faculty and staff “makes our employees particularly vulnerable to be recruited away by other institutions, with the potential of taking millions of dollars in research grants with them,” she said.

The proposed funding increase by the Kansas Board of Regents would:

l Allocate $20.5 million to cover inflation over the past several years.

l Restore $15.7 million for deferred maintenance projects.

l Provide $14.5 million in state funds to grow the Kansas work force, specifically in engineering, nursing and other high need fields.

l Implement a new technical education funding formula that will cost $11.6 million.

The funding increases are aligned with long-range plans to increase retention and graduation rates and align higher education with Kansas’ work force needs, officials said.

The increase for technical education is in response to a legislative directive to develop a funding method based on student credit hours.

Gov.-elect Sam Brownback has said he wants to freeze the current level of overall state funding, although he said adjustments could be made within that framework. Funding of public schools, higher education and social services will be contentious in the legislative session that starts in January.

After two years of making cuts throughout the budget, legislators are looking at another budget gap of at least $500 million because of the expiration of federal stimulus funds to the state.

In addition to the letter of appeal written by higher education leaders, regents officials have met with Goossen, who is the current budget director under Gov. Mark Parkinson, and members of Brownback’s transition team to discuss the budget.


wastewatcher 7 years, 5 months ago

Whine, whine, whine. Lets have full transparency of all regents spending, people being paid and not working, international and out of state travel and you nwill see that the regents system is still living high on the hog. Remember it is Parkinson and his budget director Goosen that has made this recomendation.

KU_cynic 7 years, 5 months ago

KU and the Regents are up to the same easy-to-see-through tricks: whine about economic development threats and talk about nurses and engineers (and science and math teachers and such). KU has responded to budget restraint with across-the-board cuts -- in short an inability to prioritize and protect supposed priorities such as nursing. Getting increased higher ed funding -- when the state budget will be mostly flat and other needs press budget makers -- would largely just flow back in an indiscriminate fashion.

Instead, it's time for KU and the other Regents institutions to do what they should have been doing for the past three years: adjust to fiscal reality and cut back hard in low-priority low -value academic areas and actually invest in a select few high-priority high value areas. Instead, one of KU's recent moves has been to start a new masters and PhD program in womens, gender, and sexuality studies. Brilliant. Good luck selling that in Topeka to representatives of tax payers.

Phillbert 7 years, 5 months ago

You say you saw these TVs at Allen Fieldhouse? Then surely you know that Kansas Athletics isn't taxpayer funded...hence the "Inc." at the end of "Kansas Athletics, Inc."

But that figures - conservatives often just keep making claims with zero accountability.

Phillbert 7 years, 5 months ago

Plus, if you were at a home basketball game, that couldn't have been later than about the first week of March...four months before the end of the state's fiscal year June 30. Kind of a long time from end of the year for those TVs to have had anything to do with "year end funds" even if they were for a state agency, which since they were for athletics, they weren't.

Guess you haven't been paying that much attention to the government agencies you said you've been around "most of [your] life."

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