General fund support for KSU likely to be steady

By Bryan Richardson

TOPEKA – State funding for Kansas State University will remain mostly steady in Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposed two-year budget, even though the university’s overall budget declines.

Nearly $2 million would be added over two years to $102.6 million from the state general fund in fiscal year 2013 based on the governor’s recommendations for FY 2014 and 2015. Administration officials presented a two-year budget recommendation to the House Appropriations Committee Wednesday.

If that recommendation is enacted, Kansas State would receive $103.7 million from the state general fund in FY 2014, including $15.2 million for veterinary medicine and $48.2 million for K-State extension.

The FY 2015 recommendation is $104.4 million from the state general fund, including $15.2 million for veterinary medicine and $48.27 million for K-State extension.

Considering all university funds, not just the general fund, the recommendation envisions KSU’s budget declining from its current $541.5 million to about $528.3 million next year, then increasing to $528.7 million in 2015. The decline is largely due to reductions in the university’s infrastructure fund.

The governor’s budget called for approximately four-tenths of one percent increases to the salary pool over the two-year period, from $306.9 million to $307.7 million in FY 2014 and then to $308.2 million in FY 2015.

The College of Architecture and Design is in line for some upgrades with a recommendation of $1 million in FY 2014 and $1.5 million in FY 2015 from the state general fund to begin the renovation of the facilities. This will start a four-phase plan beginning with the $35 million Seaton Court replacement. It would allow for an initial increase of 100 students.

Rep. Sydney Carlin, who is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said it was good to hear that the architecture school upgrades were part of the governor’s recommendation.

“I’m pleased the governor is recognizing the architecture department at K-State will benefit from recommendation by his office,” she said.

The governor’s proposed budget also recommended that K-State receive $50 million in bonding authority for a new College of Business building.

“A new building is new jobs,” Carlin said. “It’s very apparent that his push for more jobs is impacting the budget.”

Brownback’s recommendation also mentions $5 million in special revenue for the National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) from the FY 2013 funds. The preparation includes the demolition and rebuilding of the grain science feed mill in an alternate area.

K-State also receives another $5 million from the Department of Commerce for animal health research, which the university matches one-to-one.

The total recommended funding for higher education in FY 2014 and FY 2015 is $775.3 million and $776.2 million, respectively. These are increases from $771.8 million for fiscal year 2013.

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