Archive for Monday, November 11, 2013

Higher ed officials poring over budget figures in face of House speaker’s memo on spending

November 11, 2013


— Higher education officials are poring over budget figures to clear up what they think are legislators' misperceptions about their spending.

Republican leaders cut funding to universities during the 2013 session, and armed with a Kansas Policy Institute report, they appear unmoved by requests from schools to restore those funds.

House Speaker Ray Merrick's office has distributed a 12-page memo on various budget issues.

On higher education over the past decade, it says, "In summation: state funding has remained static; enrollment has increased 12 percent; inflation has only increased 25 percent; yet tuition has grown 136.9 percent.

"Over this same 10-year period, General Use administrative costs (Institutional Support) have increased 78 percent, more than three times the rate of inflation."

The numbers come directly from a report by the Wichita-based KPI, which advocates for lower government spending. KPI's data collection is often cited by Republican legislative leaders.

Andy Tompkins, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas Board of Regents, said the tuition increases came at a time when Kansas University and Kansas State University were trying to catch up with tuition rates with peer institutions.

In 2009, as state revenues tanked, the higher education budget was cut by 12 percent, or $100 million.

Currently, KU ranks 26th in tuition and fees out of 34 public universities in the Association of American Universities.

And higher education officials say there may be some confusion about the claims of skyrocketing administrative costs.

Tompkins said he plans to get with Dave Trabert, the president of KPI, to go over the figures.

Earlier this month, legislative leaders and members of the House and Senate budget-writing committees concluded tours of the public universities. At the KU visit, Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, and Speaker Merrick, R-Stilwell, said it was too early to tell what the legislative position would be on higher education funding.

Last session, the Republican-dominated Legislature cut $34.3 million in state funding over two years to the public universities, making Kansas one of the few states in the country to reduce higher education funding. Regents said the cuts responsible for a portion of the most recent tuition increases.


William Weissbeck 4 years, 6 months ago

There are lies, damn lies and statistics. And then there was Truman's wish for a one-armed economist, so that his opinion wouldn't always be qualified with, "but on the other hand." I am quite skeptical of Conservative "think tank" statistics. If these numbers were completely true, there would be a giant slush fund in KU's bank account, or some admins and professors building McMansions throughout Lawrence. I thought the state more or less ran the books of the university. They should know where it's all gone, and if they can't point to any specific spending sprees, then you have to question their reliance on graphs and statistics.

Dave Trabert 4 years, 6 months ago

The data in our our report is taken directly from Regents' reports. Our fully-annotated report is at

The state doesn't 'run the books' of universities; each university prepares their own reports. Frankly, state officials have expressed dismay over how difficult it can be to get information from the Regents on occasion.

Julius Nolan 4 years, 6 months ago

Thanks Dave for an immediate update of the Koch spin on facts. Hate to see Tompkins wasting his time talking to you, no matter what point he disagrees with you, it doesn't matter. The GOP only listens to Koch memo's as to what to do

Dave Trabert 4 years, 6 months ago

Please explain how showing data from KBOR financial statements is 'spinning' facts. If the facts we reported were inaccurate, don't you think the Regents would say so?

Dave Trabert 4 years, 6 months ago

FYI, taxpayer support of public education increased 91% between 1998 and 2013. Excluding all KPERS spending, taxpayer support is still 86% higher than in 1998. Good to know that you understand that stimulus money offset reductions in state aid; most education officials ignore that. Our comparisons of state aid in that regard are only in response to claims by others that state aid hasn't increased.

Dave Trabert 4 years, 6 months ago

Even adjusted for inflation and enrollment, taxpayer support of public education increased 35% since 1998. Meanwhile, student achievement in independent national exams remain flat...and large achievement gaps for students of color and low income persist.

Julius Nolan 4 years, 6 months ago

There are lies, damn lies and statistics. Dave, you and the Kochs are masters of the later. Understand why you do your job, obviously you are well paid, otherwise how could you sleep at night? Ethical people would have real problem doing so.

Dave Trabert 4 years, 6 months ago

Please identify any factual errors you believe we've made. Our data comes directly from government.

Amy Varoli Elliott 4 years, 6 months ago

Why don't you guys just donate all the buildings and land to the universities, stop funding them and then leave them alone, yes it will hurt at first but right now the GOP is just slowing choking them to death and forcing them to fund Brownbacks mandates.

Greg Cooper 4 years, 6 months ago

Dave, and others here, this may sound like a rebuttal to KPI domination of the legislature, but why, do you suppose, does the legislature cite your report, when they could take the numbers directly from regents' figures?

My point is that our legislature has ceded much too much in the way of research and ciphering the actual reasons behind the numbers to you and your group. Is there a reason, other than you and yours have bought these people and let them know that actual thinking is not encouraged, but that parroting of AFP talking points is rewarded? Why is Dave Trabert the source and not the Legislative Research Division? Is it because your pet legislators lack the direction to lead the state without you letting them know what needs to be done?

I am sick to death of hearing and reading what AFP says, as if it were truth incarnate, and not the words of a well-oiled, rich lobby organization. If I am going to vote for a legislator I am going to vote for one who has an independence that allows him/her to actually look at issues from the standpoint of the betterment of Kansas as a whole rather that Kansas as a support system for big money. I'm going to vote for those who believe education is for the masses, that education means bettering one's self and family, and that education is a system made to foster independent thinking and future building rather than continuation of a system that rewards those who have and brook no thought of allowing each Kansan the chance at a better, more secure future.

And AFP is not that.

And AFP is definitely nt that

Ted Morehouse 4 years, 6 months ago

if higher ed got rid of facebook in their offices, they would need less admins...

Steve King 4 years, 6 months ago

Who's KPI and why are they so omnipotent? Are there not 2-3 other experts think tanks with differing opinions?

Somebody has blinders on.

Steve King 4 years, 6 months ago

Thank you Barbara. It makes sense now. It's an ALEX/Koch lackey just like all the rest of the gang. And who is giving the opposing arguments? Or are they just listening to one voice in Topeka? (Silly of me I know) This is Kansas where the Governor will go after his own party members that show any hint of independent thought; assisting to eliminate them in the primary's just to get the "yes" men he wants. And we have an SOS with his own PAC?

Is this more of that " wasn't meant to be a factual statement..." crowd? Or is it the ..."I am not a witch..." crowd? I mean really, can it get more looney tunes?

I'm a taxpaying Kansas Citizen and I'll go on record that I do not want anyone associated with ALEX or KPI influencing my legislators or sticking their noses in my our business. And I'll prove it with my vote and the votes of the multitudes I will endeavor to educate.

But it seems it's already starting to implode on it's self. Thank goodness Brownback won't be here next year after we vote him out.

William Weissbeck 4 years, 6 months ago

Why are we even paying our legislators? They don't appear to do any of their own work. At least in higher ed. it's called plagiarism. The sign of good research is using primary sources.

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