A Kansas Senate committee is considering a budget bill that would restore some funding to state universities that was cut last year. But the bill caused some heated words about whether lawmakers are targeting the University of Kansas. The bill eliminates $2 million Governor Sam Brownback had proposed for a program to help commercialize KU research. Only KU had a program proposal deleted from the governor’s suggestions. Senator Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat, says the committee targeted KU.
Republican Senator Ty Masterson, from Andover, says Kelly’s statement is not a fair assessment. Senator Tom Arpke, a Salina Republican, chairs the subcommittee that built the budget. He says that he wasn’t happy with the funding reports provided by KU, and says they showed unspent revenues that the university could use.
KU officials say the Lawrence campus has $3.7 million in reserve but the KU Medical Center has NO reserve funds. Furthermore, Chancellor Bernadete Gray-Little says there's no requirement or expectation to spend down the reserve to zero every year. She also says it's a common practice for universities to have at least some reserves.