A Kansas Senate committee has voted to restore some funding to higher education. Cuts were made to state colleges and universities earlier this fiscal year.
Governor Sam Brownback had proposed adding millions of dollars in the coming two years to a state scholarship fund. As part of the Senate budget plan for next fiscal year, the new money would instead be diverted and used to restore some funding to the University of Kansas and Kansas State University.
Republican Senator Vicki Schmidt proposed the move because a budget provision last year cut more funding from KU and K-State than other public universities.
“What happened last year, just quite frankly, wasn’t fair," says Schmidt. "We talk a lot about picking winners and losers in this building and we talk a lot about fairness."
In fiscal year 2019, the new money would be used to reverse more, but not all, of the funding cuts placed on universities.
The bill also includes the possibility of a 2 percent raise for most state employees, but that will have to be considered at the end of the session when lawmakers have a clearer picture of the state’s finances.
The budget proposal is unbalanced and assumes lawmakers will consider tax increases.