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Archive for Thursday, September 19, 2013

Legislators seeking extensive information before campus meetings

September 19, 2013

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— Legislators are seeking extensive information from universities in preparation for campus visits next month.

After cutting public universities' budgets during the past legislative session, Republican legislative leaders have scheduled information-gathering meetings at campuses statewide, including Kansas University and the KU Medical Center.

Last week, legislators submitted 81 questions that they want answered before the meetings.

Regents spokeswoman Mary Jane Stankiewicz said Thursday that it will be "painful" to get all the answers collected in time, but once put together "we will have some good information."

The questions, obtained by the Lawrence Journal-World, seek information on a wide range of topics, including an in-depth look at school finances, academic performance of students, faculty and staff and partnerships with community colleges.

For example, the legislators are asking, "What are the institution's plans to reduce tuition costs to make Kansas very competitive (attract the brightest with discount tuition, grants)?" Another question is, "What are the institution's plans to reduce fixed costs and staff costs in light of declining enrollment?"

Stankiewicz said there had been angst earlier in the higher education community about the meetings, but that now everyone wants to "put our best foot forward."

Regent Chairman Fred Logan of Leawood said he looked forward to the meetings so that legislators could hear what post-secondary schools are accomplishing. "Our higher education institutions are doing a great job," he said.

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 were in part responsible for tuition increases.

Gov. Sam Brownback signed the cuts into law but has since said he will work to restore the funding.

Today, the regents unanimously recommended restoration of those cuts during the next legislative session, which starts in January, and indicated another top priority would be pushing again for construction of a $75 million health education building at the Kansas University Medical Center.

But some legislative leaders have criticized the schools over spending, salaries and fast-rising tuition.

Members of the House and Senate budget-writing committees will tour the state's public universities, a community college and a technology school over a six-day period in October.

In the questions submitted, legislators are wanting the schools to detail sources of income including revenue from endowments, research grants and patents.

They also want to know if there is a process to eliminate majors that have few students, and how the schools measure faculty productivity.

Stankiewicz said higher education officials will put the information together before the meetings start Oct. 22.

Logan said he viewed the questions from legislators as an opportunity to share valuable information.

Comments

Linda and Bill Houghton 1 year, 3 months ago

Are the legislators going to pay any attention to the answers, or do they already have their minds made up, which would make this an exercise in futility?

question4u 1 year, 3 months ago

"For example, the legislators are asking, 'What are the institution's plans to reduce tuition costs to make Kansas very competitive (attract the brightest with discount tuition, grants)?'"

What is the legislature doing to make the "brightest" want to stay in Kansas in the first place? Would that be cutting funding for K-12 and higher education? Would it be ignoring a court order to restore funding? Would it be rejecting Common Core standards? Maybe it's just the general push to create a third-world state.

The "brightest" tend to value education, and the Kansas legislature doesn't. Every high school kid knows that. Kansas doesn't have a top 100 university and the legislature has just cut funding for higher education when it was already 13% less than it was in 2008. Thirty seven other states increased funding this year and most of the rest held funding flat. Kansas joins Alabama in demonstrating its lack of concern for the "brightest."

The "brightest" can easily see that Kansas is no place to be if you value education.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 3 months ago

Our Topeka, Kansas rt wing legislators posing as the GOP have played roles in killing jobs,medical insurance coverage and retirement programs totaling trillions of $$$$$$ in losses. The bottom line is ALEC Right Wing Party members are NOT good for business thus no good for the economy.

In essence Kansas simply cannot afford the ALEC Right Wing Party that which masquerades as the fiscally responsible GOP. Essentially the GOP has been assassinated by the ALEC Right Wing Party.

United States of ALEC – Bill Moyers http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/27/the_united_states_of_alec_bill

ALEC – The Voice of Corporate Special Interests in State Legislatures http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/alec-the-voice-of-corporate-special-interests-state-legislatures

ALEC EXPOSED – The Koch Connection http://www.thenation.com/article/161973/alec-exposed-koch-connection

ALEC – Ghostwriting The Law for Corporate America http://www.justice.org/cps/rde/xchg/justice/hs.xsl/15044.htm

ALEC EXPOSED http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

ALEC Private Schools - Corporate Education Reformers Plot Next Steps at Secretive Meeting http://www.commondreams.org/view/2012/02/02-9

TalkSense 1 year, 3 months ago

It would be informative for the Journal-World to post the 81 questions being asked by the Legislative Politburo.

William Weissbeck 1 year, 3 months ago

If the legislature actually spent their time doing their jobs they'd already know the answers. It's called fact finding before you pass legislation and budgets. Instead the GOP approach to most everything budgetary is to cut someone else's budget and let them figure out how to get by. The legislature should take a page from Harry Truman. As Senator he didn't take his vacations to go back to Missouri. Instead he got in his car and drove around to military installations and production facilities to ask questions and find out for himself what was going on for the war effort. He was a pain in the neck to the private production facilities doing his best to prevent price gouging masquerading as patriotism.

yourworstnightmare 1 year, 3 months ago

"Legislators seeking extensive information before campus meetings"

After they have already made up their minds.

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