Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

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

March 18, 2013


— 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."


Boston_Corbett 1 year 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.


skull 1 year, 1 month 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.


toe 1 year, 1 month ago

KU takes dollars from local taxpayers and not a peep from the great thinkers on the hill. But, you take a penny from them and they cry like babies. I will cry with them, but I ran out of tears.


Slidell 1 year, 1 month 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*


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 1 month 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.


Les Blevins 1 year, 1 month ago

Author JIM WITKIN gets it when it comes to alternative energy at the distributed scale. He wrote back in August 2010, "The “trickle-up” approach is suited to small-scale, distributed clean tech solutions, especially when it comes to energy." Whitkin quotes a professor Hart at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management and chairman of the university's Center for Sustainable Enterprise who says; "The clean-tech innovations that will solve the world’s most urgent environmental problems might come from where we least expect it: by first serving the needs of consumers at the base of the economic pyramid. Mr. Hart suggests that new advances in clean technologies can quickly take hold in developing markets like India and China because large parts of these countries provide a setting of “non-consumption” in which basic needs like energy, transportation, health care and clean water go unmet or are badly served by existing products and services. Working in such low-income markets can force innovators and entrepreneurs to drive complexity and cost from their products and services, and the business models they create to sell them. Once these new solutions are tested and proven in the poorest communities, the theory goes, many can “trickle up” to the developed world, where features can be added for more affluent markets." “In fact, the farther down the income pyramid the technology begins, the more upside growth potential exists over the life of the innovation,” Mr. Hart said in a telephone interview."


Les Blevins 1 year, 1 month ago

Yes Dr. Warren; these cuts will hurt KU, and yes Dr. Warren; higher ups, like yourself in KU's research department asked for those cuts when you turned aside research projects that were designed to benefit all humanity (by addressing the word's ills) and were laid on your doorstep for adoption. Of course I'm referring to how you turned aside my advanced alternative energy demonstration project that I asked for your help with, and that I designed to benefit humanity by empowering and enabling humanity to address climate change and human induced sudden and catastrophic global warming. No doubt you did so to protect the Koch brothers and those in the oil industry and the coal-fired power industry from thousands of people and businesses and towns and cities who would like to minimize their carbon footprint by moving en mass to adopt alternative energy sources.


mikekt 1 year, 1 month ago

Well, if you are looking for a growing economic business success story in the State of Kansa, it is not Sedgwick County !

Nor is it the scattered right wing re-publican counties of western Kansas, that are running out of water and heavily dependent on the Federal Farm Subsidy Welfare Systems to subsidize their farming efforts, who can't seem to get over,... ( Orr past ) ...their pointless game of calling the more urban Kettles black !

Mr Sullentrop might do well to visit Johnson County and checkout what the Moderate Republicans have done their by offering good public schools, a generally well educated business ready workforce, good public saftey / municipal services,...... and a willingness to be somewhat politically inclusive and progressive .

Infact, government can do somethings right that create jobs buy creating an invironment that supports business and job seekers alike !

But you can't do that, if you are a mindless bunch of "re-publicans" who are bent on destroying government as an ideological obsessive fetish practice.... or to simply, selfishly get a tax cut !

26 years ago, 119th & Metcalf Ave in Overland Park, in Johnson County, was a flashing yellow light on a Ks state highway . A few horses, a few cows, businesses, no nothing .

Today, within 1/2 mile of that long gone flashing yellow light, their are several new hospitals, the Sprint Campus, a Walmart, a Super Target, A Costco, several new hotels, tons of other stores, tones of office, tons of homes & apartments, etc..

119th st is by no means the south edge of business developed Overland Park..........maybe 159th or the next main street south of their? Nor have the folks in Olathe been asleep at the development wheel . ........and they did all of that without the meddling in college sports, that our current Topeka Legislature has attempted to do, with their time ?

That's just amazing !

How did they do all of this over the years without the help of our current legislature ?

I honestly don't think that the current legislature in Topeka has a clue about how to attract and hold worthwhile natinal businesses and residents, who are seeking the quality of environment that a state has to offer to grow in, that they are busy trying to destroy.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 1 month 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.


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