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Archive for Wednesday, April 24, 2013

KU officials dispute cash balance list circulated by House Republican leaders who want to cut higher ed

April 24, 2013

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— House Republican leaders who are calling for higher education to take a 4 percent state budget cut say that public universities are sitting on $422 million in various funds that could be redirected to pay for other expenses.

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Cash balances circulated by GOP leaders ( .PDF )

“Obviously utilizing these funds would require foresight and planning on the part of university officials; the unencumbered funds are not like petty cash,” said House Appropriations Chairman Marc Rhoades, R-Newton.

“But I would like to see the universities look at all their funding options, not just always automatically going to students and taxpayers," Rhoades said.

But Kansas University officials on Wednesday disputed the meaning of the cash balance list circulated by top GOP officials in the House.

"I’m confused as to why this keeps being brought up as an option, when it clearly is not," said Tim Caboni, vice chancellor for public affairs at KU. "No business would operate as is being suggested by going months without the funds needed to pay its employees and vendors. The university is following sensible and universally accepted business practices,” Caboni said.

House GOP leaders are fighting for a higher education cut as fellow Republican Gov. Sam Brownback tours the state urging public support for keeping post-secondary funding at the current level.

On Tuesday, Brownback visited Kansas University, saying that higher education was key to helping improve the state's future.

The Republican-dominated Legislature returns for the wrap-up session on May 8 to write a state budget and work on tax issues.

Before a monthlong break, the House approved cutting higher education by nearly $30 million, or 4 percent. The plan would also cap salaries and sweep other funds for a total cut of approximately $60 million; KU's share of the cut would be $20 million. The Senate proposed a 2 percent budget cut.

House GOP leaders are circulating a report on cash balances at the regents universities that they say proves higher education has reserves that could be used to pay for other operations of the schools and absorb the proposed cuts.

House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, said GOP leaders in the House are committed to higher education, but the growth of cash balances at the universities means "there is room for savings."

He said the goal is to reduce the tax burden on families as tuition has increased throughout the system.

“Historically, Kansas families have borne the brunt of university budgets that continue to increase every year through both higher tuition rates and state taxes,” Merrick said. “The House budget plan found savings across all areas of state government, including the Regents, that will ensure our ability to keep the tax burden on Kansas families low.”

But officials at KU disputed the meaning of the report.

Many of the funds on the list are restricted funds, meaning they can only be used for the purposes for which they were collected, they said. And as far as general fee funds, those dollars are used to pay salaries and expenses, according to KU.

"Looking at the July 1 balances, as these reports usually do, means they are looking at a time when we have money collected to cover expenses until tuition comes in," said KU spokesman Jack Martin.

Caboni said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, Provost Jeff Vitter, and chief budget officials at KU have spent a lot of time in Topeka answering questions about the cash balances.

Comments

Roger Tarbutton 1 year, 6 months ago

Although tempting, public colleges should not accept funds that include unreasonable strings attached that do not allow their use for educational purposes. The regents needs to adopt a policy regarding this.

1

JayhawkFan1985 1 year, 6 months ago

Irtnog, you're as Brownbackward as these legislators. Listen, learn...then speak.

0

yourworstnightmare 1 year, 6 months ago

"“But I would like to see the universities look at all their funding options, not just always automatically going to students and taxpayers," Rhoades said."

But I would like to see businesses look at their revenue options, not just always automatically going to higher prices for customers and looking for tax breaks.

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fiddleback 1 year, 6 months ago

You're talking about forfeiting 20% of the university's revenue.

http://publicaffairs.ku.edu/budget

That's hardly a blow any school could sustain, and nearly doubling tuition rates to make up the difference as you've suggested elsewhere would be a further disaster.

I take it you'd have had no interest in the points Obama was likely to make during his visit about the essential role of public universities and affordable higher education??

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parrothead8 1 year, 6 months ago

When you privatize an educational institution, you automatically ensure the ability to place limits on what can be taught and/or studied. Publicly-subsidized higher education is the only way to ensure that our universities will continue to be world leaders in producing bright minds and innovative ideas.

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bender 1 year, 6 months ago

...and eliminate in-state tuition rates.

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question4u 1 year, 6 months ago

"No business would operate as is being suggested by going months without the funds needed to pay its employees and vendors. The university is following sensible and universally accepted business practices,” Caboni said.

Sorry, Mr. Caboni, "sensible" and "universally accepted" are not things that House members understand. Remember that you are dealing with one of the dumbest Legislatures that Kansans have ever elected. Frame your explanations as though you were speaking to a child who is a bit slow, and make sure to include lots of pictures.

Even Flim-Flam Sam thinks that it's a dumb idea to arbitrarily cut funding to higher education. How much more proof is needed of House incompetence?

5

riverdrifter 1 year, 6 months ago

"A child of five could understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.” ― Groucho Marx

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chootspa 1 year, 6 months ago

Remember that report Dave posted here - the one that was written at an eighth grade reading level and assumed the reader was an idiot? Seems the assumptions about the intended audience were warranted.

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bad_dog 1 year, 6 months ago

"Caboni said Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little, Provost Jeff Vitter, and chief budget officials at KU have spent a lot of time in Topeka answering questions about the cash balances."

You can lead a horse to water...

1

bad_dog 1 year, 6 months ago

Perhaps they're not attentive pupils or the subject matter is over their heads. I believe they just like to disrupt class.

How about some detention time or standing on tip-toes with their nose in a circle drawn on the blackboard?

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skull 1 year, 6 months ago

It's not their fault...they were distractedly playing with their toy guns. Oh wait, those aren't toys.

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Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 6 months ago

I don't know the current situation there, irnog2001...but they did in the '70s when I was on campus.

2

skull 1 year, 6 months ago

They did in the 2000's when I was there.

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frankfussman 1 year, 6 months ago

Take money from the Athletic Department to fund education.

1

ltownatrain 1 year, 6 months ago

They couldn't even if they wanted to. The Kansas Athletic Corporation raises their own funds from private donors (Williams Fund) which is given by donors for the express purpose of supporting athletics. Besides technically the school does take money from the Athletic Department in multiple ways which include charging them for each student athlete that attends the university.

1

fiddleback 1 year, 6 months ago

It's a separate corporation, and such a stipulation is absurd on myriad levels. It's baffling to watch you post all over this thread only further illustrating the Lao Tzu maxim, "He who speaks, does not know..."

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Bob Forer 1 year, 6 months ago

"the school does take money from the Athletic Department in multiple ways which include charging them for each student athlete that attends the university."

The problem with this argument is that tuition does not cover the actual costs, the balance of which is paid by the taxpayers. So even though the Williams Fund pays tutition, the University loses money on each scholarship athlete enrolled.

0

bad_dog 1 year, 6 months ago

"Do many business' (sic) get govt funding every year?"

Seriously? You have heard of subsidies, right? Our very own governor & his family farms receive them annually.

3

skull 1 year, 6 months ago

Yeah, those oil companies sure don't make a profit or sit on any cash reserves. Maybe they need some more subsidies.

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Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 6 months ago

"House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, said GOP leaders in the House are committed to higher education, but the growth of cash balances at the universities means 'there is room for savings.'"

Merrick is disingenuous. Only a legislator can interpret good cash flow management as "they're getting too much." Who else remembers the righteous indignation from Topeka several years back regarding deferred maintenance--legislators arguing that, after years of increasing budget cuts, the "crumbling classrooms" were evidence of mismanaged funds? When investigated, the answer was (obvious to those of us with functioning higher level critical thinking skills) that after years of sustained and increasing budget cuts, the university was unable to maintain its educational mission, research mission, and buildings at the expected level...and chose to defer maintenance rather than sacrifice its educational and research missions.

2

Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 6 months ago

"'Kansas families have borne the brunt of university budgets that continue to increase every year through both higher tuition rates and state taxes,' Merrick said."

Merrick continues his disingenuity. The percentage of university budgets underwritten by the state--or "Kansas families" as Merrick puts it, oh so eloquently-- has steadily fallen over decades. It is this failure of the legislature that has forced the tuition increases, admittedly at rates higher than inflation, that are inarguably making higher education inaccessible to a larger and larger portion of our citizenship.

4

sciencegeek 1 year, 6 months ago

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Can't Brownback control the puppets he so diligently bought into office?

Or is it possible that the Kumbaya visits to state universities by the governor are just a red herring to make it LOOK like he supports education. "I am shocked--shocked-- to learn that higher education could be cut by the legislature!"

2

oldexbeat 1 year, 6 months ago

dumb, dumber, dumbest state in the Union is the goal -- cheaper labor, no one votes, koch lovers rule, working poor and lower middle class pay for it all. A rightwing nut billionaire wet-dream.........Here Comes Sammy..........

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