Source: Kirk Schulz, firstname.lastname@example.org, 785-532-6221
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
K-STATE JOINS UNPRECEDENTED EFFORT CALLING FOR NO ADDITIONAL CUTS TO HIGHER ED
MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University and the K-State Alumni Association have joined with universities and colleges across Kansas as part of an unprecedented effort to emphasize the importance of higher education to the state's future.
K-State President Kirk Schulz joined the leaders of Kansas' universities, community colleges, technical colleges and Board of Regents in a statewide opinion column calling on legislators to invest in the future of Kansas by supporting higher education.
"Kansas businesses count on hiring educated workers who graduate from our universities," Schulz said. "It takes time to earn a degree, so the workers businesses will need in five years must have educational opportunities now. More than 75,000 K-State graduates live in Kansas, so they are vital contributors to the state's economy. K-State has graduated more than 22,000 students in the last five years and leads the state in producing math teachers. If our budget continues to be cut, our ability to graduate students could be compromised.
"Since 2005, K-State research has brought more than $1 billion into Kansas. At the same time, our funds from the state have been reduced. K-State's FY 2010 State General Fund appropriation has been reduced by $22 million -- about 12 percent -- from the beginning FY 2009 level. In addition to these cuts, K-State had to identify about $7 million to fund increased costs for items such as utilities, employee fringe benefits, faculty promotions, classified pay plan adjustments and the minimum wage increase."
Additionally, Amy Button Renz, president and CEO of the K-State Alumni Association, joined with six other alumni association leaders – who collectively represent 406,000 Kansans -- to send a letter to legislators urging them to avoid making additional cuts to higher education, even if that requires new revenue.
"We understand these are challenging times, but only by investing in our state's universities can we ensure Kansas is ready for the economic recovery. If that requires new revenue, we know our members would support such a move because they believe in the power of higher education to improve lives and grow the economy," the seven leaders wrote.
A copy of the op-ed sent by higher education leaders and an example of the letter sent by alumni leaders are attached. Jarold Boettcher, Manhattan, chair of the K-State Alumni Board of Directors, was among those who signed the letter.