Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Budget advances with ‘devastating’ cuts to KU

June 1, 2013


— Kansas University Medical Center will lose at least 30 nursing student slots and 15 residency positions and the Lawrence campus will lose 38 faculty positions under budget cuts approved by the Legislature, a KU official said.

"The effects of this are going to be devastating," said Tim Caboni, vice chancellor for public affairs at KU. "Nationally, this says terrible things about the priority of higher education in Kansas," Caboni said.

In both the House and Senate, Republicans mustered bare minimum majorities to adopt a two-year budget before ending the session early Sunday morning.

The spending plan now goes to Gov. Sam Brownback.

On higher education, the proposal would cut post-secondary institutions by $66 million over two years. The plan would impose on universities a 1.5 percent across-the-board cut for each of the next two years. It would also place a cap on salary expenses, which universities said would do damage.

For KU, the cuts total $5.5 million and total $8.3 million for KUMC over the two years.

Brownback, who had toured the state to speak against proposed cuts to universities, declined to comment on the budget as it advanced Saturday in the Legislature.

But during Senate debate, Ways and Means Chairman Ty Masterson, R-Andover, said that Brownback had accepted the cuts.

"He has to deal with what is in front of him," Masterson said.

Another part of the budget singles out KU and says that the cuts imposed by the budget can't reduce enrollment or eliminate programs at KU campuses in Salina, Wichita, Lawrence or Kansas City, Kan.

Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, asked how was KU supposed to deal with that. Masterson said he thought that KU could make cuts proportionately.

During debate in the House, Appropriations Chairman Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, said he didn't believe the cuts to KUMC were that deep. During the session, House leaders had fought for larger cuts.

But Caboni said the Medical Center cuts were as deep as stated and will hurt KU's efforts to increase the number physicians in the state, especially in rural Kansas.

Legislators who have been critical of higher education spending all session said they aren't done examining the budgets of universities.

Rhoades vowed that legislators will "drill down" in the budgets of universities during the interim period before the next legislative session.

Caboni said he welcomed the review.

"They will be impressed," he said. Of those critical of higher education spending, Caboni said, "Maybe they should study it before they come to a conclusion."


Richard Heckler 10 months, 2 weeks ago

" Kansas residents can now pay in-state tuition at UMKC."


And JCCC will likely see an increased enrollment as well. Probably so will Vo-Tech institutions.

At his point in history 4 year degrees are over rated directly due to our state and national legislators. The educational value cannot be disputed.

However between politicians and corporate America teaming up and sending millions upon millions upon millions upon millions jobs abroad make it difficult for job prospects as a result of a college education.

Not to mention the Student Loan Program looks a lot like the BUSHCO fraudulent home loan debacle. Created by the same sources. Too bad students cannot put their degrees on the market in hopes of some relief.


lawrenceloser 10 months, 2 weeks ago

You get what you pay for, so don't expect a quality college education in the state of Kansas. Heck Kansas residents can now pay in-state tuition at UMKC.


lawrenceloser 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Okay retard Republicans. Then don't complain about a lack in a trained workforce. How do you create job growth if no one is qualified?


jaydocky 10 months, 2 weeks ago

KUMC accreditation site visits are coming up. LCME will be looking for state support, plans for a new teaching building with a construction start date, adequate support staff in Wichita and Salina, and a whole laundry list of expensive items. After so many cuts for so many years, it seems likely that something will be missing.


yourworstnightmare 10 months, 2 weeks ago

KU should be allowed to absorb these cuts as it sees fit. If the Salina medical school is a redundancy and not part of the KU core mission, then it should go.

Budget cuts usually mean that "extras" and "it would be nice if we coulds" are the first to go. It would be nice to have a medical school in Salina, but it might need to go.

For the legislature to tie KU's hands like this about cuts is outrageous and is an overbearing act of intrusion by anti-intellectual and ill-informed legislators, who are certain they know what needs to be done at KU without ever having facts or studies or having done the research to back up their claims. Ideology pure and simple. Belief in the absence of facts.

Then again, this is how they operate with regard to every other issue, so why should KU be different. These right-wing ideologues are ruining the State of Kansas.


bobberboy 10 months, 2 weeks ago

What kind of cuts have the other universities in the state taken ?


Patricia Davis 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Will the Board of Regents sue the legislature for inappropriate micro managing of KU?


toe 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Perhaps the faculty will finally start questioning the administrative bloat now that their own pay is at risk.


positive 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The asymmetry in KU hiring is that it is very easy for the best faculty to leave, and hiring new faculty is incredibly difficult. The regents should aggressively raise tuition so that the legislature gets out of higher education. The 21% of funding from the state is not worth it. I see that the private school options for my kids cost more than double KU tuition, so even with no state support, KU is a great option for my kids. When good faculty leave, "cheap" education becomes like cheap heart surgery.


irtnog2001 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Cut some programs like religious studies. There are plenty of private religious schools around.


Dan Eyler 10 months, 2 weeks ago

So KU can't manage 1.5% spending? I'm am a educated guy and I would suggest we need to get to at least 10% over the next 5 years. I am sure there are some really outstanding professors and teachers at KU, but I am willing to bet that the school will manage nicely with good professors and teachers as well. I will put any amount of money on the fact that head to head with few exceptions a graduate from KU has no better chance of landing a job as a new grad than say Fort Hays State University. FHSU is running their school for about 100 bucks less an hour than KU. This elitist attitude that KU reeks and needs some fresh air.


yourworstnightmare 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Insult to injury. Cutting KU's budget is injury, but mandating what they cannot cut is insulting to KU.

It seems to me that the Salina medical school and the program in Wichita just might be the waste and duplication that the cut was supposed to target, but for political reasons, the legislature made it against the law for KU to make this decision based upon their own needs and priorities.

This is a heavy-handed, intrusive, and bullying move on the part of the legislature. They just keep racking them up.


woodscolt 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The old saying "if it ain't broke , don't fix it" has taken on a whole different meaning with brownback and his band of right wing flatlanders. Their policy is "If it works , break it" and send the money we used to break kansas to Alec and my buddies and their buddies.

Besides, who needs education. The less education the more comprehensive Fox and the "have I got some snake oil for you" cave dwellers can be perceived. It is a good thing the cave dwellers are against investing in infrastructure or the next most logical thing for them to do is to build a bypass around Kansas.


konzahawk 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Another cut KU should make is to fire Riley Hunter. He is the new lobbyist for KU and son-in-law, of the illustious Sen. Wagle. He obviously failed at his job. I'm sure that is prohibited by the Reichstag, as well.


konzahawk 10 months, 2 weeks ago

It is absurd that Topeka is telling KU where it can and can't cut costs! This is the most backward, least educated legislature I have ever seen. How did these idiots get elected? Their power grab is getting real scary and I used to think of myself, as a conservative!

If I were KU, I would tell them to go to hell and eliminate the medical schools at Salina and Wichita. Representatives from those areas of the state, seem to have an axe to grind with KU. That should, at least, bring some heat from the voters in those communities. What is the worst that could happen? Threaten to cut more money and not fund a mandated Stem Cell Research Center!


yourworstnightmare 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Most private universities charge between $20,000 and $40,000 per year in tuition.

If one accepts free market principles, this is the price of a college education that the free market has determined. The point of state-aided universities is to use state funds to subsidize this cost so that a broader economic swath has access to higher education.

What has happened at most state universities is that state aid has decreased and, despite large tuition increases, the price charged is nowhere near $20,000 to $40,000 per year. In other words, state schools have been forced to operate well below the free market determined price structure of higher education. It is a wonder that most state schools can accomplish anything at all given this "down on the farm" mentality toward higher education.

The only thing that has a chance to make KU excellent is for it to become a private institution. The legislature has shirked its responsibility to KU and to Kansans.


JSpizias 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Interesting comments regarding administrative bloat and faculty governance at Purdue. Administrative Bloat and Managing Faculty-Administrative Conflict; Address of J. Paul Robinson, Chair of the Purdue University Faculty Senate

IMAGE (Purdue: Numbers at Purdue in $ (millions) Faculty (1827) Grants and F&A ($336 Million) Administration (2057) cash/gifts ($35) Staff (5681: Service 2476; Clerical 1156; Extension 286; Prof 1763) Aux Enterprises ($285) Students (39, 637) fees and student aid ($578 plus $170 = $748)

The second largest return on investment at Purdue, is faculty grants. It is important for the Board to fully appreciate what that means. Faculty are responsible for teaching our 40,000 students. We do this, at the same time as writing the hundreds of grant applications that bring in that $400 million. $60 million dollars of that by the way, goes to the administration – not the faculty. Let’s call it the faculty’s yearly gift to Purdue!


JSpizias 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Anyone knowledgeable about higher education is concerned at the rate of cost increases, increases that far exceed the rate of inflation. .."The price of college tuition has increased at a pace much faster than that of inflation in recent years. According to a report by the Delta Cost Project, tuition for a public four-year institution in 1970 was $358 per semester. If tuition had grown in pace with inflation, the average tuition at public colleges would have been $2,052 in 2010. Instead, the average per semester tuition at public colleges and universities was $6,695 in 2010."...

In my opinion, much of the increase in cost is driven by the explosion in university bureaucracy. Professors who no longer perform the services for which they were hired (research, teaching, service) become highly paid administrators, often 200-300K or more. It would be of much interest to know how the fraction of KU administrators has grown since 1975. In part, this has been driven by ever increasing government regulations with which Universities must comply, however, I believe much is unnecessary.

Faculty governance at my graduate alma mater (Purdue) is now working to change this trend. ..."The number of Purdue administrators has jumped 54 percent in the past decade—almost eight times the growth rate of tenured and tenure-track faculty. “We’re here to deliver a high-quality education at as low a price as possible,” says Robinson. “Why is it that we can’t find any money for more faculty, but there seems to be an almost unlimited budget for administrators?”

Purdue is among the U.S. colleges layering up at the top at a time when budgets are tight, students are amassing record debt, and tuition is skyrocketing. U.S. Department of Education data show that Purdue is typical: At universities nationwide, employment of administrators jumped 60 percent from 1993 to 2009, 10 times the growth rate for tenured faculty. “Administrative bloat is clearly contributing to the overall cost of higher education,” says Jay Greene, an education professor at the University of Arkansas. In a 2010 study, Greene found that from 1993 to 2007, spending on administration rose almost twice as fast as funding for research and teaching at 198 leading U.S. universities."...

Secondly, im my opinion, the concern about student debt (based on average debt of about 30K) appears overblown. When I graduated from undergrad school in 1965 I had about $5000 in National Defense Student Loan debt. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, this corresponds to $36,910 in 2013. I was able to keep my loan debt to $5000 because I worked 25-30 hrs per week (and finished in 4 years).


Stain 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Meanwhile (I have heard) the Kansas Geological Survey just turned down $150,000 worth of work from another state agency. How can the university turn down money when they are supposedly strapped and can't do anything for their workers?


Bob_Keeshan 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Perhaps Governor Brownback will take another tour of Regents campuses, this time to apologize for lying to them a month ago.

Maybe he can sign his tax increase bill while he's on campus, too.


d_prowess 10 months, 2 weeks ago

So I guess this makes it official, no raises for anyone at KU for two years, right?


Richard Heckler 10 months, 2 weeks ago

On one side were economists and politicians who wanted to increase government spending to offset weakness in the private sector. This "stimulus" spending, economists like Paul Krugman argued, would help reduce unemployment and prop up economic growth until the private sector healed itself and began to spend again.

On the other side were economists and politicians who wanted to cut spending to reduce deficits and "restore confidence." Government stimulus, these folks argued, would only increase debt loads, which were already alarmingly high. If governments did not cut spending, countries would soon cross a deadly debt-to-GDP threshold, after which economic growth would be permanently impaired.

---- The argument is over. Paul Krugman has won. The only question now is whether the folks who have been arguing that we have no choice but to cut government spending while the economy is still weak will be big enough to admit that. -----


oldexbeat 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Sad. Public higher education in Kansas allowed the working folks to send their kids to universities that were among the top public ones (or just in general) in the nation at affordable rates. Those children often remained in the state, or certainly in Wichita, Topeka, or Johhson County, etc., and provided the middle-class growth of Kansas cities. And many of the teachers and doctors and engineers that built the state up after WWII and later.

This investment also allowed great sports events, art, social workers, psychologist, and business leaders.

Now a post above wants to sell it all to the Koch Brothers or like that and let the schools become merely extension of private fiefdoms and personal theocracies. Guess that keeping the working poor without higher education must be an ALEC recommendation. And, yup, that will provide a lot of cheap labor for the few that own the state. As I said, sad.


10 months, 2 weeks ago

@toe Where did you get the fallacious idea the government employees do not pay taxes? You really know very little of how jobs work, don't you.


toe 10 months, 2 weeks ago

This is great news for local nongovernmental workers. Higher taxes are finally going to bite those that live on taxes. They can join the rest of us.


bearded_gnome 10 months, 2 weeks ago

sounds likeCaboni is engaging in the "fire the firefighters first" strategy often employed by governments threatened by governments.

instead, fire the Caboni's and other admins first. this just sounds like a lot of another tired scare tactic. KU doesn't waste this much? really? lol.


love2fish_ks 10 months, 2 weeks ago

This does not pass the smell test. A 1.5% cut is "devastating"? Taxpayers and students deserve better than the 7% YOY increase they have had to endure.

Come on Scott, ask the hard questions. Why should an administrator keep their job if they can't find 1.5% of cost savings without hitting essential services?


Hardhawk1 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Don't you see, this is all Obama's fault! Obamacare is going to cause there to be fewer doctors. The Kansas legislature is just making sure the dire tea party predictions of fewer doctors comes true so they can say "we told you so!" It's all part of the plan......


anticommunist 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Let it sink into the ground. Or privatize both institutions. Education should be, at its core, a private enterprise. Private, as in, within the privacy of the home.

Universities and colleges should not be apparatus of the state government.


cowboy 10 months, 2 weeks ago

The exodus of good staff has already begun . efficiency experts cavorting around KU Med , cutting benefits , talented staff have a lot of options and putting up with this BS is really not one of them.


James Nelson 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Looks to me like KU and K-State are going to be forced by the legislature to break the contract made with students to provide a certain valued higher education. Professors rarely show up in classrooms as it is. Now I wonder if they will even show up in their offices. Perhaps the state could be sued by college students for having failed to deliver a college education.


dd0031 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Sorry, am I missing something? It's true that there is a 1.5% cut for FY14 in the bill, but it also explicitly states that the State Board of Regents and universities are exempt from the salary limitations placed on state agencies. Here's the conference committee report:


Brock Masters 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Guess their new high paid lobbyist didn't help much.


question4u 10 months, 2 weeks ago

"Caboni said, 'Maybe they should study it before they come to a conclusion.'"

Sorry Mr. Caboni, that would be logical. You might as well expect logic from cows as from people like Rhoades.


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