Archive for Saturday, March 19, 2011

Brownback, regents tussle over cancer center funds

March 19, 2011


— A tug-of-war is going on between Gov. Sam Brownback and some in the Legislature over funding high-profile projects at public universities, including the Kansas University Cancer Center.

In his budget plan, Brownback, a Republican, has proposed providing $5 million each to KU, Kansas State and Wichita State in research funding.

The funding, which would go toward cancer research at KU, would be made available only if each of the three institutions matches that amount, either through fundraising or reallocation of existing sources. Officials at the schools have said they have no problem with that.

But under Brownback’s plan, the funding would not go through the Board of Regents, which oversees higher education. The funding would be made by the Kansas Department of Commerce, which is led by a Cabinet secretary appointed by the governor.

Regents members have questioned the logic in that.

Last week, the Senate budget-writing committee recommended a budget that would keep the funding under the regents’ authority.

“Those dollars have traditionally been in the regents,” said Sen. Carolyn McGinn, R-Sedgwick, and chairwoman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “We basically put those back where they have been.”

The full Senate will take up the committee’s budget proposal later this month.

Brownback has said he proposed moving those allocations through Commerce because that is the agency in charge of coordinating strategies to improve the economy.

Brownback made a similar move in his proposal to allocate $1 million to Commerce to provide a competitive grant to expand engineering.

Senate Republicans upped the ante with a proposal to use $4 million in gaming revenues in 2013 and $7 million per year in 2014 and each year after that to increase the number of engineering graduates at KU, K-State and Wichita State. Under the Senate proposal, those funds would be under the authority of the regents.


Jan Rolls 6 years, 9 months ago

Why doesn't a reporter check into where all the lottery money is going? It would be very interesting to report on the give aways to create jobs that were going to be created anyway. They have been doing this for years.

funkdog1 6 years, 9 months ago

It's easy to find where lottery funds are going. Most of it goes to "economic development"

question4u 6 years, 9 months ago

Increased funding of engineering programs will only produce more engineers if there are enough students who qualify for admission. Taking the axe to K-12 funding isn't going to help to raise math competency, especially if you eliminate the gifted programs that are part of special education. Are we expecting engineering students to come from other states or other countries that have a higher sense of "adequate funding" of K-12 schools? Do we expect those engineering students to stay in Kansas after they've earned their degrees? How would it help Kansas or the country at large if a high percentage of the new engineering students come from China, and then go back to apply their skills to the aviation industry there?

tomatogrower 6 years, 9 months ago

Brownback's reasoning is this. If you spend a lot of money on educating engineers from other places, then they might come back and open a factory that will give jobs to all of the undereducated people in Kansas. It's the same reasoning that Graves had when he was governor. Spend more money on highways than education, then undereducated people in Kansas can get jobs working on the highways, fixing potholes, and maybe get to be a truck driver.

Jimo 6 years, 9 months ago

I agree. The problem isn't paying for more engineers vs. anything else. It's the lack of focus and funding for education of students K-12.

Sean Livingstone 6 years, 9 months ago

We have several engineering firms HQed in Kansas City, yet these firms have larger companies in other states. Go figure.... we need more Kansas engineering students to feed these companies, and thus expand our tax base, no matter where they come from, KU, K-State or Wichita State.

Alceste 6 years, 9 months ago

logic. Brownback. The two words in one sentence? Getoutta here! hahahahahahahahaha

plainspeaking 6 years, 9 months ago

Here's why the governor wants the Department of Commerce to administer the funds: he intends to abolish the Board of Regents.

Alceste 6 years, 9 months ago

But KU hasn't been " institution for higher education...." for a long, long, long time....easily over 25 years. It's, primarily, but a government subsidized farm club operation for professional athletics with a focus on football and basketball. It is what it is.

Brownback couldn't make it much worse, really.

Alceste 6 years, 9 months ago

Fool? Who is the real fool, writeon? Answer: Any person who actually thinks KU is all about "higher education".

KU is just a new era its bosses; it's foremen; it's workers; and its slaves (not to mention its apologists).

JSpizias 6 years, 9 months ago

Jimo (anonymous) says… I agree. The problem isn't paying for more engineers vs. anything else. It's the lack of focus and funding for education of students K-12.

Baloney! K12 education costs are more than 50% of the total state budget. Kansas ranks 6th in the nation in the percent of its budget spent on K12 education. See the gatesnotes on state educational spending. Moreover, there is no statistically significant correlation between student performance and 1) per capita student funding, 2) teacher salary, or 3) student/teacher ratio. Try reading some of the work of one of the leaders in the study of the relationship between student performance and K12 spending (Hanushek). There basically is no correlation. Are you aware of the results of the PISA studies and how poorly American students perform in relation to their international peers in the OECD?

KWCoyote 6 years, 8 months ago

Where are the engg. jobs? Most of them are out of state, I think. I agree that cutting funding of K-12 education is not going to help Kansas to graduate more engineers. If an engineer were in the governor's mansion, he'd probably be able to figure that out. However, there's a retired dim-bulb engineer in Salina who's a teabagger so you just never know.

If I were a foreign student with rich parents and graduated from a Kansas university in engineering, would I advise locating a factory here? NO! I'd advise locating it in a place with a lot of young people, preferably with educated people, at least people who believe in education, and it would probably be in Vietnam, the Philippines or other Southeast Asia location. Or maybe Egypt.

Iran's people believed in engineering. It was a high-status job, titled like a medical doctor here. Only one Iranian I knew in university was not studying engineering. So they go home, they don't have the jobs, but they have that nice prestigious title. Or maybe they go where the engineering jobs are, to the coasts, to the large companies that don't have facilities in Kansas or pay taxes here.

The only beneficiary of Brownback's plan might be the engineering departments who may feel they don't have enough students. I sympathize, but that is a reflection of the Kansas and American job market, especially after the business disinvestment set off by Bush's tax cuts 10 years ago. If someone would study elementary macroecon, they'd see how Clinton's tax hike made the economy better and Bush's cuts made it worse. Learn, grasshopper.

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