With a rebounding economy 37 states increased funding to higher education this year. Unfortunately, Kansas was one of a small minority of states to reduce funding. Higher education investment is essential to economic growth. Cutting funding when other states are increasing their investment places Kansas at a competitive disadvantage.
This year’s session was a lengthy one with lawmakers needing an additional nine days to agree on a budget and tax rates.
After 99 days the session ended Sunday morning with the passage of a two-year budget that includes significant cuts for public higher education in Kansas
These cuts came despite our session long advocacy efforts on behalf of the governor’s proposal to hold higher education funding flat.
In total, the budget includes cuts to higher education in excess of $37 million over a two-year period.
Included within the cuts is a 1.5% across-the-board reduction for both Fiscal Year 2014 and Fiscal Year 2015, a reduction in State General Funds based on a “salary cap” provision and the continued self-funding of the classified employee longevity program.
Here is how the legislature’s action will affect Pittsburg State University during FY 2014.
- A 1.5% cut to base funding
- A reduction in SGF funding as a result of the “salary cap” provision
- Elimination of funding for the classified employee longevity program with the cost covered by the university
The end result is a total FY2014 cut to our base funding of more than $900,000 or 2.6% with an additional $650,000 cut in FY2015.
PSU’s base state funding has been cut by more than $5 million since 2008 and now sits at approximately the same level it did in 2004. These cuts have come at a time when the University has grown. Since 2004 our enrollment has grown by more than 11%. The end result is that we must do more with less to provide the same high level of education and career preparedness.
The targeted enhancement for our new polymer science program was funded with an additional allocation of $500,000 per year.
While we are thankful for the increased enhancement for the polymer chemistry program, we are very disappointed with the legislature’s decision to significantly cut base state support for higher education. As a result of their decision there will be incredible pressure on tuition rates which will inevitably hasten the shift in the cost of education on to students and families.
If policy makers are serious about making Kansas a business-friendly, pro-growth state, higher education must be a foundational investment. A well-educated, well-prepared workforce is essential for businesses to grow and compete in the global marketplace. Additionally, increasing the educational attainment of Kansans will enlarge the tax base by making them more employable and increasing their lifetime earning potential. Probably most troubling is the fact that these cuts to Kansas higher education come at a time when at least 32 other states are increasing their investment in higher education placing our state at a competitive disadvantage.
Good piece by Andra Stefanoni in the Joplin Globe yesterday describing the budget showdown we are heading into next week and the potential impact on PSU and Kansas higher education.
Simply put, the cuts proposed by House leadership would be devastating to our momentum and challenge our ability to fulfill our important mission. Please help us stop these proposed cuts.
Yesterday, Governor Sam Brownback was on the PSU campus as part of his statewide tour in support of level and stable funding to higher education. The Governor first met with campus leadership to discuss his commitment to higher education, its essential role in growing the Kansas economy, as well as the concerns of the campus community. He was then given the opportunity to tour our nursing simulation lab where PSU is training the next generation of healthcare professionals.
The Governor ended his visit to PSU with a press conference alongside Pres. Steve Scott, PSU student body president Taylor Gravett, and Regent Ed McKechnie, reiterating his support for the vital role of PSU and higher education. You can watch the full press conference here.
For a recap of the Governor’s visit to the PSU campus, check out this video from the wonderful folks at PSU Marketing and Communication click here.
You can also read about the Governor’s visit in today’s Morning Sun.
As the Governor reiterated yesterday, higher education is essential to the growth of the Kansas economy and our momentum is too great to be set back by cuts. Please help us support higher education and oppose the destructive cuts proposed by the Kansas House.
Congratulations to newly elected Commissioners Monica Murnan and Chuck Munsell and to Commissioner Michael Gray on his reelection. We’re excited to continue working together to move our community forward.
A reminder that today is election day in Kansas. There are many open positions on school boards and city commissions throughout the state.
In Crawford County, there are five school districts with open board positions, and nine cities that will elect commissioners.
For your convenience, here is a link to the positions that will be voted upon today in Crawford County.
We are also including a link to help you locate your polling place. Polling places will close at 7 p.m.
An engaged community is a strong community. Please remember to vote.
Last week both the House and Senate passed budget bills that include cuts to higher education. The House budget bill (Sub HB2231), which passed out of the chamber on a vote of 68-55, reduces funding to higher education by more than $50 million in FY14. In addition to a 4% across the board cut to all institutions the House budget bill includes universities in “global” state agency cuts, which would total more than $20 million. While Regent institutions were exempted via floor amendment from the salary and wage cap provision an $18.1 million salary adjustment remained in the bill. The total revenue reductions to PSU in the House bill would be as much as $2.8 million or more than 8%.
The Senate budget bill (S Sub for HB2143) passed on a 24-16 vote. The Senate bill incudes a 2% across the board cut to higher education ($15.2 million). The Senate bill does not include any of the “global” state agency cuts included in the House budget bill. The total reduction for PSU in the Senate bill is $700,000.
Over the past five years, higher education funding has been reduced by more than 15% while statewide enrollments have grown by more than 11% over the same period. Recognizing the role of higher education in the economic health and success of the state, Governor Brownback recommended level funding for all institutions along with targeted enhancements such as PSU’s new polymer chemistry degree program. Higher education is essential to Governor Brownback’s Road Map for Kansas and to moving the Kansas economy forward. PSU and KBOR continue to support the Governor’s budget recommendation of no cuts for higher education. Cuts, such as those included in both House and Senate budget bills, threaten the growth and stability of higher education in the state and would further shift the cost of education onto students and their families.
Conference committee negotiations between the House and Senate began this morning. Conferees are as follows:
Rep. Marc Rhoades, Chairman, House Appropriations Committee
Rep. Gene Suellentrop, Vice Chairman, House Appropriations Committee
Rep. Jerry Henry, Ranking Minority Member, House Appropriations Committee
Sen. Ty Masterson, Chairman, Senate Ways and Means Committee
Sen. Jim Denning, Vice Chairman, Senate Ways and Means Committee
Sen. Laura Kelly, Ranking Minority Member, Senate Ways and Means Committee
The Kansas House of Representatives this afternoon will debate a bill that will set the state budget for Fiscal Year 2014 and 2015. This bill will have a significant impact upon higher education in the state of Kansas and upon Pittsburg State University.
Included in the bill is a 4% across the board cut in state support for Pittsburg State University, a two year cap on salary and wages and a 70% reduction in funding for vacant, full-time positions.
This bill will result in a total cut of more than 7% or $2.5 million for your university.
Tomorrow, the Senate is scheduled to debate its version of the budget bill which includes a 2% cut to higher education.
These reductions would place extreme pressure upon tuition rates, significantly limit our plans for growth, restrict President Scott’s ability to locally manage the university and limit the role Pittsburg State plays as an economic engine in southeast Kansas.
Please contact your local legislators today and ask them to oppose any cuts to higher education.
Thank you for your support. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
For more information on contacting your legislator, please visit:
My duties here in Topeka prevent me from taking part in campus Apple Day celebrations today but I cant help but be especially mindful of the historical roots of he tradition while sitting in the Capitol building. Here is a great video exploring the reasons for this very unique Gorilla tradition. This tradition really captures the true essence of our great University – through strong partnerships, vision, dedication, and determination we’ve accomplished much since 1903. What a great tradition to celebrate!
The registration deadline to vote in upcoming Pittsburg City Commission elections is fast approaching. If you live in Pittsburg and haven’t registered to vote you can do so online here.