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Budget Negotiators Include KU Sanctions in Final Agreement

Gateway entrance to the University of Kansas in Lawrence (Photo by J. Schafer)
Gateway entrance to the University of Kansas in Lawrence (Photo by J. Schafer)

A group of budget negotiators from the Kansas House and Senate has reached an agreement on a spending plan for the state. The lawmakers included penalties for the University of Kansas prompted by a dispute over a construction project. But as KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, they decided not to pursue the harshest proposal.

Some Kansas lawmakers aren’t happy that KU financed the so-called Central District project without the consent of legislators. Both chambers put sanctions on KU in their budget proposals.

The Senate version would have blocked KU from making its lease payments on the new facilities. Senator Ty Masterson proposed forgoing that idea because it could have a big impact.
“It could force them to default on the bonds. Whether we agree with how they came together or not, that would have been potentially damaging. We weren’t going to take the risk,” says Masterson.
Instead, the budget agreement would put restrictions on KU limiting how some of their funds are spent.
University officials have argued they did nothing wrong and the restrictions will hamstring their budgeting.
Both chambers will now consider the budget agreement. If they approve it, the bill would go to the governor for consideration.

Stephen Koranda is KPR's Statehouse reporter.