Advertisement

Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Statehouse Live: Budget subcommittee cuts KU Med Center proposal, recommends audit of KU

February 12, 2013, 4:49 p.m. Updated February 12, 2013, 6:51 p.m.

Advertisement

— A Senate budget subcommittee on Tuesday recommended a $10 million cut in Kansas University’s proposed budget and a sweeping audit of the school.

And one member of the subcommittee, Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, said she had concerns about student leaders from public universities who were “regurgitating” talking points given them by the Kansas Board of Regents. The students were in the Statehouse on Monday to talk with legislators about higher education issues.

Tyson said in her conversation with the students, they brought up the regents’ position in favor of in-state tuition for the children of some undocumented workers, as well as opposition to concealed carry of guns on campuses.

“If I want to be lobbied by the Board of Regents, I can go talk to them. I want to hear what the students’ concerns are, what their actual experiences are,” Tyson said.

Zach George, the government relations director for the KU Student Senate, helped organize Higher Education Day, when approximately 150 students from across the state met with legislators.

George said student leaders worked for months on what issues to talk to legislators about. He said he resented Tyson saying that the students were parroting what the regents wanted.

The regents, he said, “didn’t have a say on the issues that we chose that affected us and were important to us.”

On the budget issues, the proposal by state Sen. Tom Arpke, R-Salina, would remove Gov. Sam Brownback’s recommendation that provides $10 million over two years to go toward building a new health education building at the KU Medical Center.

Arpke, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means subcommittee on education, also recommended a full legislative audit of costs at KU, saying that the school’s expenses are too high compared with other schools.

Arpke said he was concerned that KU’s enrollment has dropped over the past several years, and he said the school needs to do more to make sure students graduate in four years.

In response to the subcommittee’s action, KU spokesman Jack Martin said, “The governor’s budget recommendations wisely reflect the need our state has for additional doctors and we hope at the end of the day the majority of Kansas legislators will agree it is a wise investment in Kansans’ health.”

As far as Arpke’s concern over costs at KU, Martin said, “Governor Brownback has indicated that KU needs to compare itself against its national peers, and compared to our fellow research universities, KU’s tuition is in the lower third.”

Martin said the school also is in the midst of a comprehensive effort to reduce administrative costs.

The subcommittee recommendation next goes to the full Ways and Means Committee.

Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, said the subcommittee doesn’t have purview over capital improvement budgets.

“It’s not in this budget and the committee cannot deal with this,” Kelly said. She said if the KU Medical Center has to look for other sources of funding for the building perhaps it should look at savings at other campuses. In addition to Kansas City, Kan., the medical school has campuses in Wichita and Salina.

KU has made construction of the $75 million health education and training facility at the KU Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., a major priority.

Construction of the building is part of KU’s initiative to increase the number of physicians trained in Kansas.

KU had wanted the state to release $25 million that was returned from the federal government as part of a FICA refund related to payroll taxes paid back in the 1990s.

In his budget proposal, Brownback released $10 million from the FICA refund and deposited the other $15 million in the state’s all-purpose general fund.

Under the Senate subcommittee’s plan, that $10 million would be removed from KU’s capital improvement budget proposal. Of that $10 million, Arpke recommended $1 million for a technology center at Fort Hays State University, $600,000 to be directed to Washburn University and the rest put in the state’s general revenue fund.

Arpke said he thought KU could continue with plans for the health education building. “We’re not done discussing the budget at this point,” he said.

Comments

wastewatcher 1 year, 10 months ago

LIBERAI LAURA KELLY is up to her same old tricks, trying to hurt other areas, Wichita and Salina, in order to further her own agenda. And where does it say that LIBERAL LAURA is the one who decides the scope of each committees work, Liberal Laura has a very poor understanding of how the Senate really operate when she makes outlandish statements like these.

Kansascityatty 1 year, 10 months ago

Ending your sentences with the proper punctuation would make your argument more persuasive.

Graczyk 1 year, 10 months ago

On other higher education issue, subcommittee member state Sen. Caryn Tyson, R-Parker, said she had concerns about student leaders from public universities who were "regurgitating" talking points given them by the Kansas Board of Regents.

Nice way to completely deny that those students have the ability to think for themselves. This is a completely distasteful comment.

verity 1 year, 10 months ago

My exact thoughts! I wonder if she assumes that because she regurgitates ALEC talking points.

I think that comment calls for an apology. In fact, I'm going to email her right now. The campaign is officially started.

verity 1 year, 10 months ago

Caryn Tyson is not a senator, she is a representative.

caryn.tyson@house.ks.govp>caryn.tyson@house.ks.gov>

dakotaloomis 1 year, 10 months ago

Verity:

Caryn Tyson is in fact a senator. Sen. Tyson now represents the 12th Senate District which comprises much of eastern Kansas. It's also why she was in a Senate budget subcommittee hearing.

Email = Caryn.Tyson@senate.ks.gov

verity 1 year, 10 months ago

Thank you, Dakota. Apparently the Kansas government website has not been updated, because I didn't find her on the list of senators and she was on the list of representatives.

JakeLetner 1 year, 10 months ago

Before you throw Mrs. Tyson under the bus and say that she is completely out of line, perhaps you should talk with the group that she met with to get their take on the situation. I am the group leader that presented to Sen. Tyson on behalf of KBOR by way of Pittsburg State University. I sincerely appreciate and agree with her take on this, and I out of anyone should be the most offended, being that her statements are directly caused by my lobbying. Monday was my first ever experience lobbying, so being put in the position in the first place was somewhat nerve-racking. We were given a packet of statistics with very little background information on those statistics. She called me out on this, and I'm glad that she did. Among the talking points that we were given to lobby for, I felt passionately about 2 of the 3. After expressing that she wanted to hear less how the regents felt and more how my group felt, we were able to have a meaningful conversation, agreeing on some issues and disagreeing on others. I have the ability to think for myself and my group does as well, but we were not in Topeka to do that. We were lobbying on behalf of KBOR and the trip was subsidized by our respective universities. We were there less as individuals and more as delegates. I have no choice but to agree with her statements and you should too.

Gary Denning 1 year, 10 months ago

Arpe from Salina is just who we want making decisions about KU and the Medical Center. After all, he has held the prestigious position of substitute teacher in Salina for several years. He is firmly in the pockets of the Koch brothers and their political influence groups.

question4u 1 year, 10 months ago

"If I want to be lobbied by the Board of Regents, I can go talk to them. I want to hear what the students' concerns are, what their actual experiences are," Tyson said.

Well, the obvious answer is to get off your rear and, in your own words, "go talk with them." Of course, then you'd have to actually address students' concerns, which is something that your arrogant and condescending comments suggest you don't really want to do. It's far easier just to dismiss anything that you don't want to hear.

Poor Kansas! With people like this in the Legislature you'd be better off on autopilot.

Graczyk 1 year, 10 months ago

This is what happens when the electorate is on autopilot.

peartree 1 year, 10 months ago

Gah! The building they are trying to replace is too small, lacks proper facilities, is technologically ancient, and is just plain gross and dirty. They have tried to maintain it, but everything needs to be gutted, but that would be silly because the space is too small anyway. Do these Western KS politicians want KU to train their doctors or not?

Then they quibble about not letting guns on campus and complain we are educating the children of immigrants, and they try to stuff money into the pockets of Western KS schools instead.

These rural politicians act like resentful children.

THIS. THIS is attitude that drives doctors and everyone else with any sense away from rural districts. The oft unspoken truth is that rural towns want people to move there, but those people had better be the same Christian denomination, skin color, and be ideologically identical to their neighbors, or they will make no friends.

yourworstnightmare 1 year, 10 months ago

"These rural politicians act like resentful children."

Yes! Exactly right. Bitter, resentful, and vengeful.

Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 10 months ago

peartree asked "Do these Western KS politicians want KU to train their doctors or not?"

I suspect "not."

yourworstnightmare 1 year, 10 months ago

It is no wonder why KU is hanging on by the skin of its teeth as a research university. With legislators like Arpke, who sees this as his chance to take a shot at KU and the perceived "intellectual elite" at the institution, KU has a massive hill to climb to even maintain mediocrity.

Time for KU to become a private university and break financial support from and ridiculous "oversight" by the Kansas legislature.

Arpke and those who vote his like into office do not deserve an affordable, quality public research university.

riverdrifter 1 year, 10 months ago

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner. Time for KU to break from the state and the ignorant hayseeds that dominate the Kansas statehouse. Alas, yes, the devil is in the details: money.

Thinking_Out_Loud 1 year, 10 months ago

yourworstnightmare, I can agree with your suggestion. State support has declined enough that I suspect privatizing at least KU, while it would be painful, is doable.

The way I heard someone else put it once was "If the Legislature can't take care of its nice things, we shouldn't let it have nice things."

kuguardgrl13 1 year, 10 months ago

So basically they're saying that they want mediocre doctors and for the flagship university to plummet in quality and standing. Should KU spend more that K-State? Probably not. We're equals in most things. Even this jayhawk will admit that. Should we have a larger budget than the D2 schools? Probably. We have more students and staff, not to mention larger operating costs. If they want KU to go private, they should say so and stop complaining when we're forced to raise tuition.

I also have a bone to pick with this woman who completely disregards the concerns of students. We're adults. We vote, we pay taxes, we consume, and most of us get jobs and raise families in Kansas. Our opinions matter just as much as anyone else's. The KU Student Senate voted against conceal and carry on our campus, probably because they heard the concerns of their fellow students. Hey Kansas Senate, do you really want to be showed up by a bunch of college kids? I will be writing to Marci Francisco very shortly.

verity 1 year, 10 months ago

I've emailed Caryn Tyson expressing my disgust at her comment about students and asking for an apology. I hope you will also write Rep Tyson asking for an apology.

handlon 1 year, 10 months ago

Our legislature in this state is embarrassing. Oh for the days of Bob Dole repubs....

dylanjacobus 1 year, 10 months ago

As a student at KU Medical Center I am very offended by this article. The school is in desperate need of a newer, larger facility. There is no dedicated building for the medical school, we share facilities with nursing students as well as PT students. One of the main reasons we have satellite campuses is due to the school inability to gain accreditation for a larger class size because of our small facility.

"Arpke said he was concerned that KU’s enrollment has dropped over the past several years, and he said the school needs to do more to make sure students graduate in four years."

I don't get this statement either. Is he talking about the University of Kansas or the University of Kansas Medical Center. IF he is talking about KUMC he is wrong. KUMC's class of 2016 will be the largest class the medical school has had to date.

As a student, one of the most important things to me is a new facility. I understand that I would be long gone from KUMC by the time the building is finished, but KUMC desperately needs it. I think Sen. Tyson needs to come talk to us and see for herself if we are just parroting.

Bob_Loblaw 1 year, 10 months ago

"...and he said the school needs to do more to make sure students graduate in four years...."

It's freaking sad that students can't seem to make it through in four years. I sure had no trouble double majoring and getting through in four years. There was no Fall Break or whatever its called as well 20 years ago (it started in 2001 FWIW). I'm positive that requirements to graduate have not gotten tougher either (probably easier)....so what's the problem with students exactly that makes this such an issue? The comment by Arpke could lead to interpretation that diluting what value a degree from KU has would be just fine. Get 'em in and get 'em out...repeat...

kuguardgrl13 1 year, 10 months ago

How are we not graduating in 4 years? It's not so much a problem with KU or any other college. They haven't changed much in the last few decades. What's different is the quality of a high school education in this country. Even those schools that are considered to be among the best have had a hard time preparing students for college when they've been bogged down by standardized testing. Instead of reading novels and working on full length essays, students read short stories and write short essays. Freshman and sophomore year of high school, I read a total of four novels and wrote maybe four major papers in my English classes. There was the slight issue of being on a block/semester schedule, but they didn't expect very much of us. We spent a good amount of time learning grammar and MLA format. So I went into college being able to format an essay and have it be grammatically correct, but I still struggle with developing a strong argument in an essay.

On KU's end, there is a problem with each school and CLAS having their own sets of gen ed requirements. If you decide to change majors across schools, or you're trying to double major across schools, you can have several classes that you already took that no longer count for any requirement. CLAS in particular swamps their students in a number of gen eds that have little relevance to the student's major. They are reevaluating those requirements, but it will take time before any difference could be noted. Not to mention that the consequences for not having a declared major after sophomore year are not very strict. Just see an advisor every semester, and it won't really hurt you until close to graduation.

For me in particular, I was part of the guinea pig freshmen in Pre-Education when the School of Education was changing from a 5 year program to a 4 year program. We were basically told that they didn't know what classes would be kept and what would be discarded. I took several classes my first semester that were dropped from the requirements after that. After I got fed up with SOE and their admissions requirements, I went over to CLAS and had to deal with their different gen ed requirements as a junior. Moral of the story is to not change your major, do decently in your classes, and you should be out in 4 years.

I will argue however, that it seems to be better right now to stay in college and plan my future than try to find a job in this economy.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

IF one sits in on these Kansas legislative discussions it sheds light of the level of expertise and level of knowledge in general some of these elected repubs lack. Their ability to communicate somewhat leaves a lot to be desired.

It is not difficult to discover what easy prey these officials are for ALEC.

If KU had a massive audit you would think elected officials would have this information rather than appearing as dopes?

Boston_Corbett 1 year, 10 months ago

I am shocked, just shocked, that students and the board of regents have some common opinions on needs and priorities.

(if the two groups had differing opinions, other legislators would be complaining)

Relative to Arpe's desire for an audit at KUMC, lets have one, and determine where the highest cost medical training occurs and shut it down immediately. (I doubt he realizes the highest cost, by a considerable margin, exists at Smokey Hills training center in Salina, which he represents)

Commenting has been disabled for this item.