The Kansas Board of Regents is asking the governor for nearly $30 million more to fund higher education in the state during the 2017 fiscal year that begins July 1, 2016.
Regents voted Thursday to request that Gov. Sam Brownback consider adding money to his budget for higher education. More than $800 million in 2017 fiscal-year funding already has been approved for Kansas colleges, universities and technical schools governed by the nine-member board.
Regents had to submit their request to the governor by Oct. 1. Brownback has another three months to decide whether to include any or all of the additional funding requests in his next budget.
The regents’ budget priorities included about $5 million for Kansas State University to help pay for a new 78,000-square-foot, state-of-the art geoscience building on the Manhattan campus. The building’s total cost is estimated at $45 million. K-State officials said the university plans to raise half the money within the next five years through private gifts.
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The University of Kansas is asking for about $3.5 million that would go toward the integrated science buildings on the Lawrence campus, and KU Medical Center wants $3.4 million for merit-based salary increases.
Wichita State University is asking for $2 million to establish a department of chemical and materials engineering, a priority now because it would compliment efforts to build an innovation campus at the school, said Rick Muma, associate vice president of academic affairs.
About $10 million of the nearly $30 million budget request would go toward two-year colleges and high school students pursuing technical education, officials said.
The requests on the budget priority list also included one from the Kansas Board of Regents. Because of a significant increase in rent, the board is short about $178,000 in paying for its Curtis State Office Building space.
Other priority items on the list include $2.2 million to increase retention and graduation rates at Fort Hays State University, $500,000 to replace private funding lost at the Department of Nursing at Emporia State University and $1.5 million to establish a School of Transportation at Pittsburg State University.