University officials have painted a dim picture of what could happen if lawmakers pass budget cuts for the state's colleges and universities. The comments came during a meeting Wednesday of the Board of Regents in Topeka. The cuts could mean shuttering some medical school programs at the University of Kansas.
The heads of the universities say funding cuts of this magnitude would have a real impact. They say it would mean reducing staff and taking other actions that affect students and the education level of the Kansas workforce.
KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little says if the full cut is passed they’d have to shut down the Salina medical campus and significantly reduce the Wichita medical campus.
“Those are things we’d have to look at because they’re underfunded already, and to have the funds going into those programs, those would certainly have to be considered," she says.
Legislators from the House and Senate are considering up to a 4 percent cut. That would equal about $30 million. Lawmakers are also looking at reducing funding for salaries by an additional $30 million over two years.
Gov. Sam Brownback is pushing for mostly level funding with some targeted increases.
House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Republican from Stilwell, issued a statement after the meeting. He says House members are committed to higher education, but they believe there is room for savings in higher ed.