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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Budget containing 4 percent cut to higher education gains preliminary approval

March 19, 2013

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— With only Republican votes, the House on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a budget that would cut higher education by 4 percent, keep public school funding flat and reduce dollars in numerous other areas of state spending.

Democrats said the austerity plan, on top of years of recession-era budget cuts, was being driven by Republican-approved income tax cuts.

"We have a budget built on a tax plan that doesn't support our children but sacrifices them for the benefit of the wealthiest among us and large corporations," said Rep. Ed Trimmer, D-Winfield.

Republican supporters of the budget said it was a responsible plan as they pushed it through on a 71-51 vote. A final vote on the measure is expected Wednesday.

Democrats said the 4 percent cut, totaling $29.2 million, to higher education would lead to tuition increases.

But House Appropriations Committee Chairman Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, said regardless of the budget, the state's universities will increase tuition. "They raise tuition because they want to," he said. "On higher education, it is out of control. At some point we are going to hit the stone wall," he added.

Higher education officials have argued that reductions in state spending on universities in recent years has had a direct impact on the size of tuition increases.

Under the 4 percent cut, Kansas University would lose nearly $10 million, including $4.2 million at the KU Medical Center.

House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said the cut doesn't make sense when the Legislature wants KU Med to produce more doctors and nurses. "How are they going to do that?" he asked.

Higher education officials did win a victory when Rep. Ward Cassidy, R-St Francis, won approval of an amendment that lifted a wage and salary cap that had been placed on universities. Higher education representatives had complained loudly that the cap would have frozen even federal and private grant funds.

But the provision, essentially freezing salary and wage expenditures to current levels, remains in the bill for the rest of state government.

Rep. Melanie Meier, D-Leavenworth, said that will prevent the under-staffed prison system from filling vacant positions.

Several legislators complained they were given just a little more than one day to analyze the 512-page budget.

"I think they understand that there is so much bad stuff in this budget that they don't want people to have time to read it — or else they wouldn't support it," said Rep. John Wilson, D-Lawrence.

Comments

irtnog2001 1 year, 1 month ago

"There is plenty of fat in universities' budgets that could be cut. The number of administrators and costs of administration have ballooned in the past decade; cut those back to previous levels. Get rid of all majors that end with "studies" and all courses that begin with "critical." Spend down schools' endowments (why do public universities have endowments anyway?). The threat to have students' sit in each others' laps and raise tuition to even more astronomical levels is the state equivalent of federal firing all the meat inspectors. Window dressing." Quote from commenter at KCStar website

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irtnog2001 1 year, 1 month ago

"There is plenty of fat in universities' budgets that could be cut. The number of administrators and costs of administration have ballooned in the past decade; cut those back to previous levels. Get rid of all majors that end with "studies" and all courses that begin with "critical." Spend down schools' endowments (why do public universities have endowments anyway?). The threat to have students' sit in each others' laps and raise tuition to even more astronomical levels is the state equivalent of federal firing all the meat inspectors. Window dressing." Quote from commenter at KCStar website

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George_Braziller 1 year, 1 month ago

How do they expect to keep public school funding flat when the court ruled they had to increase it and it's now in mediation? Mediation isn't going to result in staying the same or going down. They're going to be forced to increase it whether they like it or not.

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irtnog2001 1 year, 1 month ago

I would rather see them spend some extra money to establish or lure an osteopathic school to Kansas prefereably Wichita. With its emphasis on research and specialization, I am not confidant that KU can produce more doctors for rural Kansas even with larger classes. They all seem to stay in the major cities or move out of state.

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autie 1 year, 1 month ago

But House Appropriations Committee Chairman Marc Rhoades, R-Newton, said regardless of the budget, the state's universities will increase tuition. "They raise tuition because they want to," he said.

When the committee chairman can make a statement so blatantly absurb we are all in deep trouble. Does he seriously think that schools just raise fees to be malicious or because the "want to"? If one does the simplest math application, reduce the funding 4% and the amount to operate at current level goes away by 4%. Of course over time they will raise tuition. Until only the children of the plutocracy can afford to be educated. Ah..now we may be on to something.

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63BC 1 year, 1 month ago

Given that Rothschild reported [falsely] in December that Higher Ed was looking at an eight percent cut, this represents progress for the Regents.

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 1 month ago

Penny wise and pound foolish.

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 1 month ago

"House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said the cut doesn't make sense when the Legislature wants KU Med to produce more doctors and nurses. "How are they going to do that?" he asked."

They are either liars or idiots or both-- all perfectly acceptable for the shills of the Grand Ole Plutocracy.

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