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Sources: Bruce Shubert, 785-532-6226; Jon Wefald and Sue Peterson, 785-532-6221
News release prepared by: Cheryl May, 785-532-6415, may@k-state.edu

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

K-STATE URGING ALUMNI AND FRIENDS TO CONTACT KANSAS LEGISLATORS ABOUT 'POTENTIALLY DEVASTATING' BUDGET CUTS

MANHATTAN -- Key Kansas State University administrators are urging alumni and friends of the university to contact their Kansas legislators to encourage them not to make devastating cuts to university budgets. The university is contacting about 27,000 alums and households.

"We understand the state of our economy and we are prepared to meet the 7 percent ($13 million) reduction in state funding as recommended by the Governor," said Bruce Shubert, K-State's vice president for administration and finance. "A cut of $13 million from our base budget will be extremely difficult. However, the approximate ($24 million) 13 percent recommended this week by the Kansas State Senate would forever alter the mission of our land-grant university."

K-State President Jon Wefald said these kinds of budget cuts by the Kansas Legislature over the next 10 days would adversely impact K-State and the other state universities for years to come. "We need our alumni and friends to contact their state representative and state senator right away," Wefald said.

"The Kansas House of Representatives has recently passed a 9 percent ($16.7 million) reduction," said Sue Peterson, director of governmental relations and assistant to K-State's president.

K-State's administrative team said cuts greater than 7 percent would change the mission of K-State for years and years to come. They said a 9 percent reduction would begin to alter K-State's mission as a land-grant university; and if the Senate position holds on to a 13 percent cut for the six state universities of Kansas, K-State's mission as a land-grant university would be changed permanently.

"With these kinds of cuts, not only will we have to increase tuition and furlough employees, we would have a huge number of unfilled positions and layoffs which would result in reduced course offerings and reduced educational services," Shubert said.

The six state universities of Kansas have never faced cuts of this magnitude in memory, Peterson said. In addition to these unprecedented cuts, K-State and the other state universities will have to pick up costs for utilities, employee fringe benefits and a number of additional costs. Under the Senate plan, K-State faces a $30 million challenge.

"Investment in higher education is critical," Wefald said. "The state universities provide tremendous economic benefits to the people of our state. We hope our alumni and friends will add their voices to the discussion in Topeka and ask the Legislature to adopt the Governor’s recommendation."