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Brownback suggests support for new KU Med Center building; details on higher-education funding to come today

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If you were waiting on the edge of your seat to see what Gov. Sam Brownback might say about state higher-education funding in his State of the State speech last night, it may have been a bit anticlimactic: We won't know details about that until his proposed budget is revealed in full today.

But Brownback did suggest his budget would include support for one thing KU wants: a new educational building at the KU Medical Center. He also said it would allow for the training of 50 more medical doctors each year at the Med Center.

KU officials say the new building will help the Med Center move away from lecture-based education toward more hands-on simulations and training, as is the trend in medical education. KU is asking the state to chip in $30 million toward the proposed $75 million building, in addition to the release of a $26 million refund of payroll taxes that were incorrectly collected from the Med Center during the 1990s, which would also go toward the building effort.

As for higher-education funding in general, more information about what may be in store will come out today when the governor's budget is released.

Last month, the state Division of Budget recommended an 8 percent cut to higher-ed funding. KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said such a drop in funding would likely put jobs at risk. I also heard from a student group planning to publicly demonstrate against such cuts if they're proposed.

So keep watching LJWorld.com today to learn more about the fate of state higher-education funding. And while you're at it, keep your KU news tips coming to merickson@ljworld.com.

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