Higher Ed Budget Cuts Hanging in Balance

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The House bill making state appropriations to higher education in Kansas clips $59 million that would be allocated to universities and community colleges — nearly three times savings sought by the Senate.

Differences narrow in the second year of budget bills pending in the 2013 Legislature, according to a report by the Kansas Board of Regents, with the House removing $15.5 million and the Senate chopping $13.1 million from higher education allocations.

"If that's my choice," Sen. Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka, said Monday. "I like the Senate position on higher education. We know higher education is one of the engines of the economy."

The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee said Board of Regents universities, including Kansas State University and The University of Kansas, need to embrace financial discipline.

"The regents budgets keep going up, not just with money from the state general fund, but also from other areas, such as tuition increases," said Rep. Marc Rhoades, a Newton Republican and budget chairman.

Budgets for higher education approved by the Republican-led Senate and House make different across-the-board reductions in the fiscal year starting July 1. The Senate voted to apply a 2 percent, or $15.2 million rollback. The House's 4 percent erosion in state spending would save the treasury $29.2 million.

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