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Archive for Monday, March 18, 2013

Higher education officials say budget cuts would hurt research, state economy, students

March 18, 2013

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— Higher education officials on Monday said a proposed cap on salaries and wages and a 4 percent budget cut would hurt research, the Kansas economy and increase student tuition.

"You're signaling to the marketplace that the state does not see higher education as an engine of economic development, innovation and discovery," said Steve Warren, vice chancellor for research and graduate studies at Kansas University.

Warren said the proposed cuts have made top faculty vulnerable to "poaching" from institutions in other states because the signal has been sent that "Kansas is not a stable environment" for researchers.

Representatives of universities, community colleges and technical colleges spoke to the House Education Budget Committee about the proposed state budget that the House will be debating on Tuesday.

That budget, pushed by Republican leaders in the House, includes a 4 percent, or $29.2 million, budget cut to universities, and a wage and salary cap for state government agencies, including higher education. That cap would cost higher education another $18.1 million, according to the Kansas Board of Regents.

University leaders said freezing salaries, some of which are funded in part with federal and private grants, would devastate efforts to work with businesses and industry to expand research.

Wichita State University President John Bardo said the cap would halt negotiations between the school and major businesses and the federal government on several research initiatives that have the potential to bring hundreds of engineers and support staff to Kansas.

"This salary cap will make that impossible for us," Bardo said.

Larry Gould, provost and chief academic officer at Fort Hays State University, said, "That four percent cut hits us right in the gut in regard to our ability to keep tuition down."

Higher education officials reminded legislators that the system has been cut 15 percent in state funding over the past five years.

They said a 4 percent cut would reduce the number of classes offered, increase class size and end some technical course offerings.

Gov. Sam Brownback proposed a flat budget for higher education with some specific enhancements, but both the House and Senate budget-writing committees have made cuts.

Rep. Gene Suellentrop, R-Wichita, and vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee, proposed the wage and salary cap. On Monday, he sat through the hearing where the higher education officials expressed their concerns.

Afterward, Suellentrop said legislators need more information from the schools.

"As the No. 2 person on the (Appropriations) committee, responsible for the taxpayers' dollars in the state of Kansas, I've got to be concerned about: Are these programs things that are actually going to materialize? Are they going to grow the number of jobs? Are they going to get us return on investment that we are being told that they might?"

He added, "We're not trying to micromanage them. We would like to have a little bit more in-depth conversation with them about their growth and plans."

Comments

Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 5 months ago

Guess you can take all that knowledge you have acquired and apply it to being good stewards of the tax dollars you are given.

1

parrothead8 1 year, 5 months ago

That rings pretty hollow when your job is to research, produce articles/books, serve on committees, and teach. Politicians are the ones who have insisted on running universities like businesses, and now they're finding out that approach doesn't work, but they won't admit it. You can't continue to expect students to get the most out of their college educations when you continue to give them fewer resources to do it with.

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chootspa 1 year, 5 months ago

They're not even running it like a business. No well-run business would allow their most qualified employees to get poached because of inflexible salary caps or rule out the possibility of bonuses for those finding new revenue streams.

4

chootspa 1 year, 5 months ago

That poster has been ranting for years about some crazy invention and how nobody will listen to him about it because... conspiracy. At this point I'm picturing him with a tin foil hat and an elaborate Rube Goldberg device that makes toast. Well, sometimes it makes toast, but most of the time it just shorts out in an elaborate shower of sparks.

2

Katara 1 year, 5 months ago

I read his posts in this guy's voice. It makes it even more entertaining.

Good news, everyone! I have invented a device which makes you read this in my voice in your head!

Good news, everyone! I have invented a device which makes you read this in my voice in your head! by Katara

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 5 months ago

No worries. We can completely eliminate all our state universities, and find all the teachers, engineers, doctors and other professionals we need in India, Mexico, China, Pakistan..... And they'll work for half the price. For now.

6

chootspa 1 year, 5 months ago

Not that I think that's a good idea in the first place, because I don't, but the salary caps wouldn't allow extra tuition to go toward increased salaries.

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Slidell 1 year, 5 months ago

University Programs Supported by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation August 2011

*Funding for Kansas schools is provided by the Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Foundation.

University of Kansas Kansas State University Friends University*

https://bravenew.nationbuilder.com/assets/pages/554/Koch_Family_Foundations-ListofFundedProgramsAugust2011.pdf

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chootspa 1 year, 5 months ago

The more the state takes away, the more favors the Kochs can ask for in return for those donations. All a part of the plan.

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chootspa 1 year, 5 months ago

Those "great thinkers on the hill" are local taxpayers, too.

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skull 1 year, 5 months ago

"As the No. 2 person on the (Appropriations) committee, responsible for the taxpayers' dollars in the state of Kansas, I've got to be concerned about: Are these programs things that are actually going to materialize? Are they going to grow the number of jobs? Are they going to get us return on investment that we are being told that they might?"

Where were these questions regarding the income tax policy? Kansans received a guarantee that "core services" would be protected...apparently education isn't one of those services.

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Boston_Corbett 1 year, 5 months ago

Anyone who starts a question with "As the No. 2 person on the (Appropriations) committee, responsible for the taxpayers' dollars in the state of Kansas" is more than a bit full of himself, and is part of the problem.

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