Archive for Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Regents waiting on budget negotiations before taking up tuition proposals

May 14, 2013

Topeka — One of the major duties of the Kansas Board of Regents is to set tuition and fees at the state universities.

But that process will be delayed if Gov. Sam Brownback and the Kansas Legislature don't come to an agreement soon on the state budget.

Typically, the state budget is finalized in early May, and the regents consider tuition proposals shortly after that.

The regents meet Wednesday and Thursday, and state officials haven't approved a budget yet.

The Legislature returned to Topeka last week to wrap up budget and tax issues, but made little progress. Legislators will start again Monday.

In fact, higher education funding is one of the major stumbling blocks in negotiations. The House has proposed an across-the-board cut of 4 percent, or $29.2 million, while the Senate recommended a 2 percent cut. The House plan also contains a cap on salaries that KU officials say would hurt the university’s ability to retain and recruit top-level faculty.

Brownback toured the state, opposing any cut to higher education, and promoting extension of the current state sales tax rate of 6.3 percent, which is scheduled to fall to 5.7 percent on July 1.

If a budget agreement is reached early in the week, the regents and universities will discuss tuition proposals on Thursday as scheduled. If not, the board will schedule a special meeting later, according to the regents. None of the regents schools, including Kansas University, have released tuition proposals yet.

Typically, new tuition rates and fees are approved at the June board meeting to take effect the following fall semester.

In other business, the regents also will consider:

— A proposal from KU to raze the old University Relations building, formerly the Oread Training School. The 1 1/2 story building, constructed in 1915, is located on the northeast side of the main campus. Due to its deteriorated condition, interior mold, asbestos abatement and high content of lead paint, it is not cost effective to restore, officials said. The cost to demolish the building is $200,000.

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