Members of the Kansas Board of Regents have approved the higher education budget request they’ll send to the Legislature.
The message is simple: avoid new budget cuts for Kansas universities and restore the $30 million cut to higher education put in place earlier this year. The proposal also asks lawmakers for $20 million more for maintenance projects.
Chair of the Board of Regents, Zoe Newton, says they kept in mind the state’s tight budget.
“But we also feel like we need to put out there what it is that we feel we need as a system and then it’s really up to the legislators and the governor to make those priority decisions,” says Newton.
Regent Joe Bain says they wanted to offer a realistic request.
“We also have to look at reality and look at the revenue picture as it is and understand that we’ve got to prioritize things and make a pitch for the things that are most important, which is to maintain and not getting more cuts,” says Bain.
There are also additional targeted funding requests from the universities, including money for a new University of Kansas medical education building in Wichita. KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little says they kept their request relatively modest.
“If the fiscal situation were different, all of the universities would have had more substantial requests. We are trying to be cognizant of and sensitive to the situation that the state is in financially,” says Gray-Little.
The university requests also include money for food production and security research at Kansas State University and funding to help establish a chemical engineering department at Wichita State University.
Stephen Koranda was at the Board of Regents meeting and has this report: