Government & Politics

Possible cuts at KU, KU Med total around $23 million

Roughly $6.3 million would be trimmed from the University of Kansas in both fiscal years 2018 and 2019, according to proposed budget cuts that were included in budget information
Roughly $6.3 million would be trimmed from the University of Kansas in both fiscal years 2018 and 2019, according to proposed budget cuts that were included in budget information

Around $23 million could be cut from the University of Kansas and the KU Medical Center in the next two fiscal years if a 5 percent budget cut from the state becomes a reality.

The proposed cuts were included in budget information released Monday by the Kansas Board of Regents. Specifics were sparse in the documents, which didn’t include details of what exactly would be cut if state aid dropped during the next two fiscal years.

Members of KU’s media relations team declined Monday to explain where exactly the cuts would come from and how students would be impacted.

Over the summer, Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration asked state agencies and universities to detail how they would handle a 5 percent cut. At the time, the governor’s spokeswoman, Eileen Hawley, told the Wichita Eagle that asking agencies to think about reduced budgets was common practice.

But since then, Kansas has also faced revenue shortfalls that could lead to more budget cuts in the months to come.

The governor’s office said last week that it wouldn’t release state agencies’ budget reports detailing the impacts of that possible 5 percent cut. Those details, according to a statement from Hawley, are exempt from open records requests until the governor releases his budget recommendations to the Legislature in January.

But on Monday the Board of Regents, which governs the state’s six public universities, sent the documents to reporters who had requested the information.

Roughly $6.3 million would be trimmed from KU in both fiscal years 2018 and 2019, according to the budget sheet. The lion’s share of that would be a $6 million cut to operations spending that helps run the university.

The records also show that the KU Medical Center would face a cut of almost $5.2 million each year. Nearly $5 million would be cut from state aid, while medical scholarships and loans would lose nearly $217,000.

Tim Caboni, KU’s vice chancellor for public affairs, said in a statement the university would “obviously prefer” that Brownback avoid additional cuts to higher education.

“As requested by the governor, we submitted a scenario that outlines how the University of Kansas would allocate a 5 percent cut for the 2018 and 2019 budget years,” Caboni said. “We distributed the potential cuts across the board without reducing funds for the KU Cancer Center, as our effort to become a comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute remains a high priority.”

The cuts would not directly impact The University of Kansas Hospital, which is governed separately from the university system and receives no tax appropriations, said Dennis McCulloch, director of public and government relations for the hospital.

Kansas State could lose almost $10 million over two years if the 5 percent cuts are made. In addition, the university’s veterinary medical center would lose about $1.4 million over that span, according to the documents, while the school’s extension programs could be trimmed by almost $4.6 million.

Brownback’s office did not comment on the universities’ proposed cuts.

The documents also show possible cuts at other universities that include:

▪ A $7 million cut at Wichita State over the next two fiscal years.

▪ A $1.5 million cut from Emporia State in the next fiscal year.

▪ A $1.69 million cut from Pittsburg State in the next fiscal year. The university also said 26 positions could be eliminated.

Hunter Woodall: 785-354-1388, @HunterMw

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