Topeka — After budgets cuts totaling $100 million over the past two years, higher education officials Thursday said they were glad Gov. Sam Brownback didn't propose cutting any more.
"After recent and severe budget cuts, and a continued trend of state disinvestment in higher education, we're pleased the governor is advocating no reductions to the system's base budget," said Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Gary Sherrer.
But Sherrer noted Brownback's state budget recommendation released Thursday has a lot of moving parts for higher education, and that the regents would continue to analyze the details.
Brownback has proposed funding through the Kansas Department of Commerce an initiative that includes $5 million for cancer research at Kansas University Medical Center, $5 million for animal health research at Kansas State, and $5 million for aviation research at Wichita State.
But these funds would have to be matched by the same amounts by the universities.
The proposal also provides $1 million in economic development funds to the regents to administer the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research program. The program is currently administered by the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp., but Brownback has recommended merging KTEC into the Department of Commerce.
The proposed budget fails to fund $10 million for deferred maintenance at campuses statewide that was part of 2007 legislation.
And it eliminates 367 unfilled positions at state universities. The proposal also cuts state funding to the regents office by $203,000.
Earlier, the regents had recommended a $50 million increase for higher education, but Brownback had indicated that was not possible because of the state's budget problems.