In senate session on Thursday, Gov. Brownback announced he would reduce the allotment to higher education by two percent. The cuts to university funding take effect March 7.
Additionally, Brownback told the Senate he’d reduce the allotment to K-12 schools by 1.5 percent. According to a press release from Brownback’s office, the cuts will “result in a savings of $44.5 million for the state general fund”.
Due to the allotment power, the governor can unilaterally cut the approved budget. Brownback was unavailable for comment at this time.
Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau represents the 29th senate district in Wichita, Kan. where Wichita State is located. She said she is disappointed in the governor’s decision and is wary of what the cuts will do to universities in Kansas.
“On the floor today, senator Carolyn McGinn in her explanation vote said exactly what I was thinking and feeling to a certain degree, which is that it is unfair,” Faust-Goudeau said.
According to the press release, Brownback calls for the legislature to reform equalization factors within the next 30 days to “stall the increase of $54 million in Local Option Budget State Aid and Capital Outlay State Aid spending that was not appropriated by the Legislature in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget bill”. By doing so, the legislature could restore the 1.5 percent allotment for K-12 schools. Nothing was mentioned on how the legislature could restore the two percent cut in university funding.
Wichita State President, John Bardo, visited the Capitol Wednesday and urged lawmakers not to cut funding to universities, something Faust-Goudeau said would result negatively for all of Kansas.
“We need to be moving forward in all of the innovative ideas and plans that we want to address, at Wichita State in particular, but that will ultimately benefit the entire state of Kansas,” she said. “So with a message like this from Governor Brownback, I think we’re backpedaling.”
— Edited by Miranda Davis