- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2014

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Public colleges and universities in Kansas would get $44 million more over the next two years as part of a proposal a House budget committee approved Monday that would restore some salary funding, boost research programs and expand construction projects.

The report adopted on a voice vote, largely follows requests by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback for spending at the Kansas Board of Regents, six state universities and state community and technical colleges. The recommendation calls for spending $757 million in state general fund revenue in the current fiscal year that began July 1, 2013, and $767 million in 2015.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Marc Rhoades, a Newton Republican, said the salary cuts last year were made in an effort to create more accountability over university spending.

“Not every agency is created equally,” Rhoades said, adding that some in the past were keeping positions vacant and using the money for other purposes.

He questioned if university leaders had justified the need for more funding, especially in light of ongoing tuition increases. The Kansas Board of Regents approved tuition increases in 2013 that will generate an additional $30 million for the six universities.

Rhoades said the university presidents had the responsibility to provide information about the impact of previous salary cuts and the effects to programs. If restoring the cuts could be justified, Rhoades said he would be inclined to support the effort.

Rep. Ward Cassidy, chairman of the House Education Budget subcommittee, suggested that the regents universities would have more credibility with legislators during the funding process if they would hold the line on tuition and show they are being frugal with their resources.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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