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Some new cash due for KSU

Faculty pay, however, not proposed for hike

By Bryan Richardson

TOPEKA — Administration officials said Thursday that Kansas State University is in position to get increased state funding during the next fiscal year and the years to come. This year, however, that extra money won’t be used to beef up faculty pay.

“Dr. Gloom and Doom is a thing of the past. It’s now Mr. Sunshine,” Alan Conroy, director of the Kansas Legislative Research Department, told members of the House Appropriations Committee at a budget briefing the morning after Gov. Sam Brownback’s State of the State Message.

Brownback’s fiscal year 2013 budget recommendation shows $509.9 million in funding for K-State including an increase of $169,775 from the state general fund (SGF). The total funding figure assumes that tuition funds stay the same as the current fiscal year.

The increase would not be felt within the ranks of the university’s faculty or classified employees. State funding for salaries of all state workers, including university faculty, was largely held flat in the Brownback budget document.

There would be a $2.13 million decrease in overall funding at KSU, that due to about a $3 million reduction in federal funding from FY 2012.

New funding for the university includes $5 million in special revenue to help prepare for the National Agro- and Bio-Defense Facility (NBAF). This will be used for the demolition and rebuilding of the grain science feed mill, which has to be moved.

K-State’s Veterinary Medical School is slated to receive $10 million in funding — $5 million from the state general fund and $5 million from other funds — to go toward increasing the number of faculty and research staff support staff, research equipment and graduate student enhancement.

KSU would also receive $3.5 million for the first year of an engineering initiative.

The administration is also projecting future increases in state general funding for higher education, assuming structural reforms are enacted for Medicaid and school finance.

Brownback recommends $782.4 million in state funding for higher education in FY13 with projections of $782.9 million in FY14, $792.9 million in FY15, $802.9 million in FY16, $812.9 million in FY17 and $822.9 million in FY18.

Manhattan Area Technical College (MATC) would also receive increased funding with Brownback’s proposed addition of $28.5 million from the SGF to the Board of Regents.

For tiered technical education classes statewide, Brownback recommends $54.9 million in FY13, an increase of $8 million from this fiscal year.

The rest of the increase is a part of the career and technical education initiative announced by Brownback on Monday.

To promote and increase access to technical education programs by high school students, a $17.5 million addition is proposed to pay for the tuition of students taking vocational courses on a part-time basis with the intention of getting a professional degree.

Another $3 million would be set aside in an incentive fund, the source for the distribution of $1,000 per high school student who complete technical certification before graduation.

Overall, state budget director Steve Anderson said the budget plan calls for spending a little less than $6.1 billion in general state revenues on government programs, compared to a little more than $6.1 billion under the current budget. The difference is about $39 million, or a little less than 1 percent.

“We believe our budget has brought fiscal stability with the approach we have taken,” Anderson told the committee.

Brownback’s budget also called for resuming state funding of arts programs and merging the arts and film commissions to focus on job creation.

The proposal would establish a Creative Industries Commission within the state Department of Commerce and provide $200,000 for arts programs. That’s the same subsidy Brownback offered for the Arts Commission last year, when he proposed eliminating the body and turning the administration of arts grants over to a private, nonprofit foundation.

Legislators rejected last year’s plan; Brownback responded by vetoing the commission’s entire $689,000 budget, making Kansas the first state to eliminate funding for arts. That decision prompted the National Endowment for the Arts and a regional arts alliance to cut funds, costing the state an additional $1.3 million.

Anderson said the administration had listened to the complaints about the governor’s veto. Brownback’s actions brought Kansas national attention.

“We funded the arts,” Anderson said. “That was a bit of a hot point last year.”

Under the proposed budget, the Creative Industries Commission would “focus economic and workforce development efforts to expand creative industries across the state.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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