Archive for Thursday, January 16, 2014

Brownback’s budget restores some, not all, higher ed cuts

January 16, 2014, 10:12 a.m. Updated January 16, 2014, 5:34 p.m.

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FY 2014

The Fiscal Year 2014 revised budget is $30.7 million or 0.5 percent greater than budget passed by the 2013 Legislature, according to Gov. Sam Brownback's office.

· $17.8 million to maintain base state aid per pupil at the current level

· $11.7 million for health and human services caseloads

· $9.3 million for the Career and Technical Education Initiative

· $5.2 million to restore the regents salary cap cuts

FY 2015

The Fiscal Year 2015 revised budget is $429.8 million greater than the budget passed by the 2013 Legislature, according to Gov. Sam Brownback's office.

· $362.9 million for the Department of Corrections

· $20 million to maintain base state aid per pupil at the current level

· $16.3 million for all-day kindergarten

· $15.3 million for the Career and Technical Education Initiative

· $5.2 million for a 1.5 percent salary increase for classified state employees

Topeka — Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday proposed to restore some of the cuts made to higher education.

“We believe this is a pretty reasonable offer at least to start the conversation and get the ball rolling,” said Jon Hummell, interim state budget director.

Higher education officials said they were pleased with Brownback’s proposal.

Last year, legislators approved a two-year budget plan, so the proposed changes to higher education funding were among several budget amendments pushed forward by Brownback as the 2014 session started this week.

As part of that two-year budget, Republican legislative leaders last session cut higher education $33 million in state funds and Brownback signed the cuts into law, but then indicated he would fight to restore the cuts in 2014.

Kansas University was cut by $13.5 million.

Systemwide, Hummell said Brownback proposes an increase in spending of $10.9 million over two years to restore one-half of salary-based reductions in the current fiscal year, and all the salary-based reductions in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

The salary reductions affected different schools in different ways, so the governor’s proposal tries to equalize that impact, Hummell said.

For example, KU’s Lawrence campus would receive only about $164,000 but the KU Medical Center would get $4 million.

In addition, Brownback proposes program enhancements for the regents universities.

“What the governor decided based on conversations with the Legislature about strategic investments and return on investment — what we would do instead of restoring a percentage cut is recommend a series of projects,” Hummell said.

At KU, Brownback proposes $2 million to help build the Kansas Institute for Translational Chemical Biology on the Lawrence campus. The institute will work to promote state-of-the art drug discovery and development.

He also proposes $70,000 for the Rural Health Bridging Program at KU Med that encourages primary care physicians to work in rural Kansas.

One of the big items missing from Brownback’s budget is KU’s request for funding to start building a $75 million educational training facility. KU officials have said the current medical building is outdated and that surrounding states have been opening state-of-the-art facilities, making it more difficult to get students at KU.

Brownback’s budget proposals will now go to the House and Senate budget-writing committees for consideration.

House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, said, “With ever-increasing tuition on Kansas families and their students, I plan on seeing more spending accountability within the regents system to accompany any appropriations discussion.”

Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Fred Logan said he was pleased with Brownback’s proposal.

“He proposed to restore the lion’s share of the cuts,” Logan said.

“Those who suffered the greatest harm are going to have the greatest restoration. That was Emporia State University, that was the Med Center, that was Kansas State Extension Service. They are going to see substantial benefit from his proposal,” Logan said. “And I also like the enhancements,” he said.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 3 months ago

Paul Davis: We must get the Kansas economy working for all Kansans House Minority Leader delivers State of the State response from Hillcrest Elementary School

TOPEKA – This evening, House Minority Leader Paul Davis delivered the official response to Sam Brownback's 2014 State of the State address.

"The original goals of the Brownback Road Map were admirable," said Davis. "But time and again, the numbers just never seem to add up. Gov. Brownback promised to create jobs, but there are fewer jobs now than there were three years ago.

He promised to cut taxes, but all he really did was shift the tax burden onto working families.

He promised to strengthen our schools, but he made the largest cut to public education in state history. A year later test scores dropped for the first time in over a decade.

And he promised to reduce childhood poverty, but the number of kids living in poverty has increased dramatically while he’s been governor. It’s time to change direction."

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