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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Legislative leaders will take budget meetings to universities around the state

July 29, 2013

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— Legislative leaders today approved sending state budget writers on a tour of each public university to review and discuss higher education funding.

The move comes just weeks after Republican leaders approved budget cuts to higher education, making Kansas one of only a handful of states that have reduced funding to universities this year.

"Legislators need to hear from the universities about the budget cuts that have come from this past session and understand what the impact of those cuts are going to be," said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence.

The Legislative Coordinating Council, which consists of Republican and Democratic leaders, approved six days of meetings to send members of the House Appropriations Committee, Senate Ways and Means Committee and legislative leaders to each of the six regents' institutions, a community college and a technical college.

Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, said she hoped the meetings would provide "two-way communication."

"We have a lot of new freshmen legislators and we're hopeful that we can come to a common understanding about budget issues for the regents," Wagle said.

"I think it is good for legislators to actually see what's going on within the institutions," she said.

During the 2013 legislation session that ended in June, Republicans approved approximately $44 million in cuts to universities over two years. For each of those years, the schools are looking at cuts of about 3 percent.

Gov. Sam Brownback, also a Republican, signed the cuts into law but said he would work to restore funding next year.

Under the budget bill, the Kansas University Medical Center will lose $8.3 million over two years, and the Lawrence campus, $5.3 million.

Democratic leader Davis said he hoped legislators on the tour would have the opportunity to speak with students who saw higher tuition increases because of the state budget cuts.

"I think it's very important that legislators understand that the rising cost of college is having a real impact on the kind of student loan debt that graduates are having to shoulder, and also impacting the ability of some people to even attend college," Davis said.

Mary Jane Stankiewicz, a spokeswoman for the regents, said the regents looked forward to the meetings, and hoped it would increase the dialogue between higher education officials and legislators.

Jack Martin, a spokesman for KU, said school officials looked forward to the visit. "We appreciate legislators taking the time to visit, and look forward to having in-depth discussions with them about the role and value of the University of Kansas," he said.

No meeting dates have been scheduled yet but they are expected to start in the fall.

Comments

Larry Moss 8 months, 3 weeks ago

How fragile these colleges must be. With many, many millions in revenue from the athletic programs and millions and millions in donations, they simply are to fragile to absorb 3% in funding cuts from the State.

$13.6 million over two years in cuts. KU can live with these cuts and only the naïve would think otherwise.

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Larry Moss 8 months, 3 weeks ago

How's that commercial go? We have less and we want more. We want more, we want more!

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suggestionbox 8 months, 3 weeks ago

Clown College and Whittling School would be much cheaper! Go Kansas!

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question4u 8 months, 3 weeks ago

"'I think it is good for legislators to actually see what's going on within the institutions,' [Wagle] said."

This implies, of course, that they don't know what's going on. That ignorance was no impediment to arbitrary cuts to higher education, however. Is there any doubt as to what kind of legislature Kansas has? When is it ever smart to make budget decisions when you don't know "what's going on"?

It may be that there really is lots of unnecessary spending in higher education in Kansas, even after years of cuts and flat budgets. Maybe it really does make sense for Kansas to cut funding to higher education when the rest of the country is restoring funding. However, just saying that's so without having actual knowledge of or experience with university budgets is childish.

How many other decisions made by this legislature, the dumbest that Kansas has ever had, were made without the benefit of knowledge or experience? How many more decisions based purely on opinion will be shaping the future of Kansas for years to come? What kind of state elects legislators who make decisions first and collect data later? In the land of backwards that may seem normal, but everywhere else it's a definition of foolishness.

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mikekt 8 months, 3 weeks ago

This sounds like a "sound bite" made for the media event !

It will probably be packed with AFP supporters that they buss in or religious wackos who missed their chance to join in, at Jones Town or Waco Texas .

I don't buy it .

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JohnSickels 8 months, 3 weeks ago

An abacus is much cheaper and more cost-effective than one of them there fancy computerrs. And who needs libraries and books? We have the Bible, nobody needs more than that.

I'm sure there is an ALEC study somewhere proving it.

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JohnSickels 8 months, 3 weeks ago

The legislators will probably look at all these fancy computeeerrs around campus and conclude that the budget need to be cut further.

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