Archive for Thursday, November 15, 2012

Brownback says little chance of funding increase to higher ed

November 15, 2012


TOPEKA — With state revenue shortfalls looming, Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday said there was little chance of an overall spending increase for higher education.

But in a talk with the Kansas Board of Regents, Brownback said the possibility existed to provide additional dollars for specific projects at the schools.

“I really don’t think the time is appropriate with the Legislature or with me to ask for base funding” increases, Brownback said.

Brownback, however, said he and the Legislature are focused on trying to target funding for specific projects or programs, such as technical education.

Regents Chairman Tim Emert said Brownback has delivered that message before and the board has adjusted its “ask” downward.

“We’ve kind of reached the point that we just hope that we can hold our own and keep funding where it is in this very difficult economic time,” Emert said.

In September, the board sent Brownback a recommended $47.1 million in additional funding, which would be an increase of about 6.2 percent.

Brownback will work on a state budget later this month to present to the Legislature when the 2013 session starts in January.

Brownback’s administration has told state agencies to prepare for tight budgets and has directed them to include a 10 percent cut in their spending requests for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

And the most recent revenue estimates show the state faces a $327 million revenue shortfall, mostly because of tax cuts Brownback signed into law.

The state is decreasing its individual income tax rates for 2013, with the top rate dropping to 4.9 percent from 6.45 percent. Also, the state will exempt the owners of 191,000 partnerships, sole proprietorships and other businesses from income taxes.

Included in the proposed $47.1 million increase in higher education funding is $2.8 million to improve the Wichita campus of the Kansas University School of Medicine, and $1 million as part of a proposed $30 million in state funds to pay for a new health education building at the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan.

Also part of the higher ed wish list is a 1 percent pay increase for the 18,000 employees working on university campuses.

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said Brownback made it clear that any increase in the base funding for higher education was probably not going to happen.

But Gray-Little said she was encouraged Brownback reiterated his belief in the importance of higher education and “the value and ability of higher education to make a contribution, specifically to job creation, training highly skilled workers, and providing the intellectual energy for the kinds of things that need to happen here in Kansas.”

In his comments, Brownback also said he sees opportunities for the state to benefit from the federal government’s fiscal problems.

With the federal government’s lack of resources, Brownback said, the state is negotiating with the feds on Kansas taking a more active role in securing ownership in intellectual properties that spin off the proposed National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan.

He also said the state is negotiating to purchase water storage in federal reservoirs. And he said the state should also investigate whether it could offer to take over some of the prison and military training services at Fort Leavenworth.

“The feds are in a negotiating mood. They need to be because they are out of money,” he said.

Asked later where the state, which is projected to see tax revenues drop sharply because of the tax cuts, would come up with the money to do this, Brownback said, “You got to prioritize.”

He also said Kansas should become the intellectual center to develop policies to combat human trafficking.

And he called on higher education institutions to produce more entrepreneurs.

“We don’t have enough startups in Kansas,” he said. “We are toying with the idea of how can you pay the system to encourage more startups.”


observant 1 year, 4 months ago

Brownie definitely doesn't want an educated electorate, otherwise the GOP/Teabagggers can't get elected.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

A high dollar voucher system that funnels tons of public education dollars into corporate schools is a money laundering operation of the highest order.

It has nothing to do with a better education or fiscal responsibility. Conservatives are on record as poor business mangers and big time reckless spenders as supply side economics provides as I see it.

There was nothing wrong with the public education system until conservatives came along and began cutting budgets and painting the system as evil. These corporate "evil minded" politicians see trillions of public school tax dollars that will make more of the 1% wealthier,shareholders happier and owners of the K-12 virtual curriculum even wealthier beyond belief.

The Walton's of Wal-Mart fame and fortune were pushing this nonsense through their personal contact with GW,the Bush family which owns software directly connected to K-12 and Reagan/Bush protege Bill Bennett among the original founders of K-12.

There is no way the voucher corporate school concept will or can provide a better education than the public school system. There is a lot of unfounded rhetoric. We must remember the most reliable source of fraud against government tax dollars is still some in corporate America.

A lot of our local mayors and other politicians are public school graduates. Tons and tons of successful farmers, business people,doctors and scientists are public school graduates.

So how in the hell can public education be evil?


Richard Heckler 1 year, 4 months ago

"the public school system is in need of a serious overhaul, top to bottom, inside and out."

By what measure? "Overhaul" and any changes deemed necessary could have been made without ripping budgets apart.

Serious cuts in the budget the last decade or so based on ideology have no doubt created problems that were non existent prior. BIG government interference is certainly NOT the answer.


Shardwurm 1 year, 5 months ago

Oh well, just time to throw in another 7 percent tuition increase so the white middle class can keep being burdened by more and more debt after being suckered into believing that going to college and spending $80k on a worthless degree is the smart thing to do.


gr 1 year, 5 months ago

"But hey, at least those in the highest income bracket get to keep that 1.5% of their money."

Tell me, what percentage of income are they paying in taxes compared to the rest of us? The word, "keep", sounds a little..... weak.


rockchalk1977 1 year, 5 months ago

It's time for everyone to live within their means. If a taxpayer funded K-12 government school education is working so well, why do we currently have 47 million food stamp recipients?


xorobabel 1 year, 5 months ago

No funding for the arts. Cuts in funding for historical sites. Large cuts in spending for public primary and secondary education. Stagnant (and possibly future cuts to) higher education spending.

But hey, at least those in the highest income bracket get to keep that 1.5% of their money.

Kansas -- on the fast track to the third world.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 5 months ago

Vouchers in Milwaukee


Milwaukee’s program has long been a model for other cities and state programs, from Cleveland, to New Orleans, Florida, and Indiana. Beginning in 1990 with 300 students in seven non-sectarian schools, by 2012 vouchers had expanded to almost 23,000 students in more than 100 private schools, most of them religious-based. In size, the voucher program now rivals Wisconsin’s largest school districts, but with minimal public accountability or oversight.

For more than twenty years, supporters of vouchers for private schools have had a chance to prove their assertion that the marketplace and parental choice are the bedrocks of educational success, that unions and government bureaucracy are the enemies of reform, and that vouchers will lead to increased academic achievement.

After two decades and more than $1.27 billion in public funding, however, the Milwaukee voucher program’s enticing promises have not materialized.

The first apples-to-apples comparison between Milwaukee’s private voucher and public schools wasn’t until 2010, a testament to how difficult it is to demand public transparency from private schools. State test results showed that students in private voucher schools performed significantly worse in math and about the same in reading as their public school counterparts. Recent results have been similar.

Nor has Milwaukee’s voucher program met the promise of increased parental satisfaction. A longitudinal study on achievement, in its final report, noted that only17.5 percent of the voucher students remained in a voucher school after five years. The comparable figure for the public schools was 43.5 percent.

Fundamentally, however, the issue of school vouchers goes beyond education achievement and parent preference. Above all, vouchers are an abandonment of this country’s commitment to public schools—a commitment rooted in an understanding that strong democratic institutions require a citizenry educated not just in the three Rs but also in their civic responsibilities.

Every state constitution in the country enshrines the right to a free and public education for all children—an honor that is not bestowed on other requisites for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, whether housing or employment or healthcare.

In the current debates on vouchers, there is strikingly little discussion of the relationship between democratic values, civic responsibility, and public education. Instead, education is treated as a mere commodity, with parents and children reduced to mere consumers.


Richard Heckler 1 year, 5 months ago

Sam Brownback has never intended to fund school schools appropriately from day one. He makes misleading statements always.

Neither WOMEN nor Republicans nor Democrats nor the Upper Middle Class/Middle class can afford the Republican/RINO Party!

Vouchers are a money laundering tool that funnels public school tax dollars to corporate bank accounts. Public Education is a strong player in new Economic Growth yet republicans starve the system of funding which starves our teachers of resources. Which starves the desired level of education = stealing from our children’s future.

Republicans want to kill the public education institution Republicans are out of touch going on 33 years.


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