Archive for Monday, February 18, 2013

KU Medical Center under the budget knife; committee removes $10 million for health education building

February 18, 2013


— A Senate committee Monday cut $10 million that was proposed in the Kansas University budget to help start construction of a $75 million health education building at KU Medical Center.

Gov. Sam Brownback put the $10 million in his two-year budget proposal, but the governor’s fellow Republicans on the Ways and Means Committee removed the funding. Sen. Tom Arpke, R-Salina, led the charge, expressing displeasure with tuition increases at KU.

“Looking at the overall performance of the regents universities, it seemed to me that the University of Kansas was being, in my mind, a little fiscally irresponsible in looking at their tuition increases of the last 10 years of over 200 percent,” Arpke said.

Arpke, chairman of the education budget subcommittee, also said he recently asked KU officials what they were doing with certain reserve funds and had not heard back.

“I also gave them a homework assignment. I have not received that information back, and so until that time, the funding will remain removed,” Arpke said.

Sen. Laura Kelly of Topeka, the ranking Democrat on Ways and Means, said construction of the building was crucial to the medical center’s future.

“The $10 million you are taking away here is just a down payment on a new facility — a new facility that they need to maintain accreditation,” Kelly said.

Ways and Means Chairman Ty Masterson, R-Andover, said removing the funds wasn’t a comment on whether the project was needed. Masterson said he told budget subcommittees to look for savings because of uncertainty about what the Legislature will do about taxes and other revenue proposals.

“Having a down payment on a new project is one of first places you look when you don’t know the landscape of what is happening on the revenue side,” Masterson said.

Kelly said removing the $10 million will hurt attempts by KU to raise private funds for the building.

After a subcommittee cut the funding last week, Brownback said the $10 million commitment from the state was important for Kansas to increase the number of physicians. Brownback also said he wasn’t overly concerned about removing the funding at this point because legislators were early in the budget process.

Kelly and Sen. Marci Francisco, D-Lawrence, voted for a motion to return money to the spending plan but were outvoted by Republicans on the committee. The Republican members then recommended approval of the KU budget without the $10 million. Only Kelly and Francisco opposed that.

Construction of the $75 million building has been a top priority for KU officials, who say the current medical training building is outdated.

Since 2011, the KU School of Medicine’s first-year class has increased from 175 students to 211. The proposed facility would accommodate an additional 25 medical students every year in addition to providing the advanced technology and simulation needed for medical students, KU officials have said.


lawrenceguy40 5 years, 4 months ago

Excellent news!

KU is beginning to pay the price for their liberal indoctrination of Kansas kids. Most Kansans do not want their hard earned tax dollars being spent on funding the lifestyle of the arrogant liberal elite.

kuguardgrl13 5 years, 4 months ago

Well when KUMed loses its accreditation, I hope you remember which politicians let it happen.

kujayhawk7476 5 years, 3 months ago

LG40 - You're a special kind of stupid, right?

question4u 5 years, 4 months ago

The state doesn't need more doctors, let alone better trained doctors. That would be like saying that the power of prayer isn't sufficient to make people well. The state doesn't need an accredited medical school or even one university ranked in the top 100 nationally. Investment in a new medical center would clearly be a waste of money that is needed for more important things, like a special election to change the state's constitution so that legislators can make funding to public education unfair and inequitable and expensive new voter id procedures so that three people can't vote illegally in Kansas elections.

This is Kansas, and the rules are simple. If it has any connection to education it's bad; if it makes the wealthy wealthier it's good; if its dumb, unethical, or exploitative it will be introduced as a bill in the legislature.

myop 5 years, 4 months ago

So providing the state and region (especially in rural areas) with quality doctors is arrogant, liberal and elite??

Joe Hyde 5 years, 4 months ago

"Having a downpayment on a new project is one of first places you look when you don't know the landscape of what is happening on the revenue side," Masterson said.

Voting for moderate Republican and/or Democrat candidates is what more voters will do now that they're seeing the landscape of what is happening on the conservative Republican side.

orbiter 5 years, 4 months ago

Thank God Honest Tom Arpke is on the case! Sure, he had to resign from Kris Kobach's campaign for not reporting a quarter of the campaign finances, but he'll get to the bottom of this!

heights 5 years, 4 months ago

Brownback the bottle opener, meet Genie.

TinmanKC 5 years, 4 months ago

OK, KU Med should just close the Salina campus. How's that Senator Arpke!

Patricia Davis 5 years, 4 months ago

If Senator Arpke knew how to manage finances, I would appreciate his opinion better. What a bozo.

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