Archive for Thursday, June 6, 2013

Regents blast higher education budget cuts approved by Legislature, say tuition will increase, call on Brownback to veto portion of cuts

June 6, 2013, 10:19 a.m. Updated June 6, 2013, 3:25 p.m.


— College students at public universities in Kansas will pay more in tuition because of budget cuts to higher education that were approved by the Legislature, officials said Thursday.

In considering proposed tuition increases at Kansas University and other universities, Kansas Board of Regents members roundly criticized the budget cuts approved this weekend by Republican legislators.

Short-sighted, vindictive, hypocritical and irresponsible were just some of the adjectives used by regents to describe the $66 million, or 5.7 percent cut to higher education over the next two years.

The appropriations bill includes a 1.5 percent across-the-board cut for each of the next two years and caps salary expenses, which some universities, including Kansas University, have said will be difficult to handle.

For KU, the budget cuts will total $13.5 million over two years, or 8.2 percent for the KU Medical Center and 3.8 percent at KU-Lawrence.

Regents urged Gov. Sam Brownback to veto the part of the bill that caps salary appropriations. Brownback's office said he will review the budget bill over the next few days.

Regent vice chairman Fred Logan, of Leawood, said Brownback "needs to send a message to the Legislature that that kind of bad public policy isn't going to be tolerated." It was unclear whether a veto of that provision would actually have any monetary effect or just serve as a policy statement.

On Thursday, KU proposed a 4.4 percent increase in tuition and fees for incoming freshmen and increases ranging from 5.32 percent to 7.64 percent at KU Medical Center.

Even with the increases, programs and services at KUMC will have to be cut because of the ways the legislative budget cuts are structured, said Dr. Doug Girod, executive vice chancellor at KUMC.

"There is no way to close this gap with a tuition increase," Girod said. He said a 2 percent increase was added to the tuition proposal after the budget cuts were approved, but "that doesn't come close to touching our cuts." He said a 12 percent tuition increase would have been needed to offset the budget cuts to KUMC.

Instead, he said, cuts will have to be made in staff and programs at KUMC. "We're at the point where we are trying to figure out what businesses to get out of," he said.

The problem is made even more difficult, he said, because while the Legislature cut KUMC's budget it added a budget provision that says KU can't reduce enrollment or eliminate programs at KUMC campuses in Salina, Wichita, Kansas City or Lawrence. Not only does that tie administrators' hands, but officials also noted that Lawrence is not a KU Medical Center campus.

The Legislature also rejected a proposal from Brownback to provide $35 million in bonding authority and $10 million in funding to jump start construction of a new medical education building at KUMC. KU has said it needs the building to produce more physicians for the state.

Regent Dan Lykins, of Topeka, said the budget actions by legislative leaders seemed vindictive. He added, "It is just mind-boggling that this would come out of a group of legislators that we just assume is doing the best for Kansas, when obviously it is not."

During the session, House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, and House Appropriations Chairman Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, said they believed higher ed could be cut even deeper. State Sen. Tom Arpke, R-Salina, was instrumental in removing Brownback's recommendation on funding the medical education building because he said KU had been irresponsible in increasing tuition over the past 10 years.

But Regent Robba Moran, of Hays, praised KU and said she didn't understand legislators who make negative statements about the school. "They are an outstanding university that we should be proud of. If you want to have outstanding universities you have to pay for them," Moran said. She praised KU's business dean Neeli Bendapudi as a pro-business, free-market dean who is generating enthusiasm.

Regent Christine Downey-Schmidt, of Inman, called the Legislature's appropriations bill "the most irresponsible" in her 20 years of state government experience. "I think the governor should just be furious," she said. Brownback had urged the Legislature to reject cuts to higher education.

Downey-Schmidt said the higher education budget approved by the Legislature was full of "hypocritical decision-making" and "short-sighted ideological focus."


toe 5 years ago

The Regents are pretty much irrelevant these days. University growth is on the back of the taxpayer. I think they can grow smaller and more efficient. Let's find out.

Henry Schwaller 5 years ago

Yes, you are correct, Toe. Education is not a priority in a 21st century global economy.

Mike1949 5 years ago

And people wonder why the United States education institutions are ranked in the bottom half of all educational institutions world wide. You wonder why business is hiring all these people from other countries?

adastraperapathy 5 years ago

It has clearly never been a priority for "toe."

Boston_Corbett 5 years ago

Biggest cuts in history to KU, and Toe is still not happy. Surprise, surprise.

Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years ago

When the proportion of state support has demonstrably decreased over the last three decades, I don't think it is accurate to say "University growth is on the back of the taxpayer," toe. It appears to me the taxpayer is footing less University growth than ever in our history.

adastraperapathy 5 years ago

People like "toe" hate facts. Stop being so mean!

Jeff Kilgore 5 years ago

Eight dollars an hour? You must be a union member who hates 'Merica! I'll bet you want benefits, you communist!

Frank A Janzen 5 years ago

Sam "Pol Pot" Brownback and his knee-jerk Republicans have a good idea. "During his time in power Pol Pot imposed agrarian socialism, forcing urban dwellers to relocate to the countryside to work in collective farms and forced labor projects." After all, we are an agricultural state. "Let them eat wheat." Who needs education, anyway?

TecmoSuperBowlChristianOkoye 5 years ago

Wait, the "free market" conservatives are instituting a salary cap? Sounds like a great way to ensure the best professors leave the university as soon as they can. Of course that's probably a bonus feature in their minds...

Jeff Kilgore 5 years ago

We're in a race with MIssissippi! WE CAN be the least educated state by 2020! Kansas, as backwards as you can get! Yee Hawwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What does that say in that there paper, Son?

Don't know, Pa, sumthin' 'bout politics.

bad_dog 5 years ago

Interesting take from Robba Moran, aka Mrs. Senator Jerry Moran.

Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years ago

Interesting in what way, bad_dog? And why does it matter to whom Ms. Moran is married? Shouldn't we reflect on her "take" on its own merits?

bad_dog 5 years ago

Interesting in that I know both she and Senator Moran. Her opinion is interesting in that she speaks as an educator (former professor) and hasn't departed from those ideological roots despite the party allegiance of her husband.

Not interesting in your attempt to challenge what was, essentially, a "thinking out loud" musing on my part. Pardon my presumption many folks in this part of the state didn't recognize who she married.

Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years ago

Good. Thank you for that clarification, bad_dog. Without the context of your first paragraph, your post appeared to me to discount her ideas simply because she is the Senator's wife. I understand now what you meant.

HutchSaltHawk 5 years ago

Anyone surprised? I have been following the Legislature and their animosity towards KU for the past 20 years. 10 years ago I thought the Legistlature had cut all the fat and were cutting into the bone. It is a shame what the Legislature has done with KU as well as some of the other programs at the State, such as the Department of Corrections. TIme for a change in Topeka!

Jeff Kilgore 5 years ago

No, Kansans are to blame. Brownback and his cronies know that Kansans are very poorly educated on the issues that matter, and so there is no reason to be progressive. As long as they can get men to think they're doing the "right thing" by voting conservative, then that's what they'll do. I wonder how many generations it will take to understand this.

LogicMan 5 years ago

What are the rank-and-file saying at KSU, WSU, etc. about this? How does it affect them?

yourworstnightmare 5 years ago

Governor Brownback has a chance to fight for his stated goal of not cutting higher education in Kansas. He has a chance to veto this bill.

I doubt he will. We shall see.

Notabonehead 5 years ago

And why wouldn't the republican legislature cut back on higher education funding? They are far more likely to be reelected if the average Kansan is less educated and dumber. I am shocked they voted for any education funding. Koch boys need serfs!

koman 5 years ago

The number of people graduating with a four year degree has remained relatively stable the past 50 years, around 25% of high school graduates. The number that has risen is the number of individuals that begin college, around 50% of high school graduates. The bloat in higher education has been on the back of the half of students who, in all reality, shouldn't be there and the goverment that subsidizes their time in college. It's time to invest in high tech vocational training and seriously right-size the ineffecient university system in this country.

Tradways 5 years ago

Rep Marc Rhoades is an online professor for Phoenix University. That shows what his standard for education should be. He hates all state employees and wishes they would all disappear.

Thinking_Out_Loud 5 years ago

I find Rep Rhoades' to have low credibility. He is the fellow who announced in a committee meeting that KTA offered the governor $25 million to abandon the effort to merge the Authority with KDOT. Either he has been careless with what he says, as he claims, or he deliberately lies to win political fights. Under both scenarios, his statements are suspect in my book.

Patricia Davis 5 years ago

Gee, I wish Kansas would bring on an on-line legislature. I'm sure we could save money there!

Patricia Davis 5 years ago

I hope KU has the balls to eliminate the Salina School of Medicine. What a joke.

Miles Nease 5 years ago

Oh yes! A few trees are the reason that tuition continues to climb. Let's ignore the fact that the State used to fund the vast majority of KU's operating budget and now only funds around 20% of the budget.

adastraperapathy 5 years ago

Considering "anticommunist" has not left the 1950s, it probably doesn't acknowledge the fact that the state funds a much smaller percentage of the higher education institutions in Kansas than it did back when communism could credibly be called a threat.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years ago

I don't think they fund education in the Middle East either. That explains the extremism, the hatred of women, the intolerance of others, the undermining of democratic institutions, the xenophobia, etc. Maybe kansas is Mideast rather than Midwest...brownbackistan.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years ago

We don't need no education. We don't need no thought control. All in all, it's just another break in the wall..

Pink Floyd

Anthony Mall 5 years ago

Funny... Liberal Lawrence ranked near the bottom in two separate studies and they blame republicans for a school that is now ranked out of the top 100 and has been falling for a decade. Meanwhile other cities and schools have seen an increase in tuition and have been climbing in the national rankings. Coincidence???

Anthony Mall 5 years ago

The two studies this year that had lawrence dead last in one and near last in another, a university in lawrence that has been dropping in national rankings consistently recently, and you cant connect to dots? Maybe the issue is right here in lawrence and not who people love to blame in this town.

jafs 5 years ago

Not only that, the city study was "growth" oriented, and only ranked places according to that criteria.

I don't care at all if Lawrence isn't continually growing, in fact I think that's a good thing.

As far as universities go, I'm not sure what basis they're ranked on, but if it's a similar one, I also don't care - if it means that people going to them aren't being well educated, then that would be different, and something I care about a lot.

Anthony Mall 5 years ago

Cities need to grow. Economically to keep tax dollars in the city and to keep the residents from moving to other cities. Who is going to pay for bicycle lanes and save the wetlands rally's Lawrence seems so worried about if they have to pay more in taxes (Lawrence taxes are through the roof), drive to topeka or kc to work (lack of economic growth), and a public school system that can't keep good teachers, is underfunded, and can't get any support from people in this town (apology to great the teachers and parents that try). Your right Jafs Lawrence is doing great! Keep thinking small, seems to be working!

jafs 5 years ago

No they don't - there's no need for continual growth at all.

There's research showing that faster growing areas under-perform slower growing ones economically in numerous ways, in fact.

The issue of commuting is largely an issue because a lot of people moved here, and the city expanded (growth).

The public school system isn't underfunded in Lawrence - they just passed a huge bond issue that passed easily.

Small is beautiful.

Anthony Mall 5 years ago

Ok, keep losing tax dollars to topeka and joco, don't grow, watch ku slip further (all the school has is basketball), and fall behind cities that are leaving lawrence in the dust! Good job liberals...

adastraperapathy 5 years ago

Is Lawrence really underperforming Topeka?

Not that you would really care, I understand you are just on here to get your frustrations out about people who you don't agree with.

blindrabbit 5 years ago

Just part of Smilin Sam's desire to dumb down Kansas and to impose a Jesus State. As Pink Floyd said: "We don't need no education, we don't need no thought control, leave those kids alone"

Commenting has been disabled for this item.