January 19, 2021
Kansas legislative update
Last week the Kansas Legislature convened the 2021 session and Gov. Laura Kelly released budget recommendations for fiscal year 2022. These two events mark the start of a monthslong process sure to be filled with debate and political wrangling. Please know we are engaged and involved with our elected officials throughout the session.
The current fiscal year has been difficult as we are in the midst of a belt-tightening unlike any in recent history. We’ve seen budget reductions, furloughs and layoffs as revenues dropped precipitously and costs increased due to the pandemic. The full impacts continue to be felt throughout the university.
The governor’s proposed budget is only a starting place and given the dynamics of the legislature could change significantly. The proposed budget calls for a significant decrease in state funding for higher education, including Kansas State University. The 5.5% proposed cut for K-State would be the most significant budget reduction since 2009.
We intend to continue to work with the governor and the legislature to provide necessary funding to fulfill our land-grant mission. As we know, there may be many proposed adjustments to this budget and the situation can change quickly.
There are steps each of us can take to help. As a private citizen, you can reach out to your local state representative and senator and advocate for higher education. Please remember not to use state resources, including your K-State email, for any political activity. If you have questions, please refer to the Office of Governmental Relations website. The K-State Alumni Association sponsors Wildcats for Higher Education, which works to ensure that higher education and K-State remain a valued contributor to the lives of Kansas citizens.
The long-term disinvestment in higher education in Kansas does not bode well for the future of the state, nor the health of its universities. The return on investment for higher education has been demonstrated time and again, this trend must be reversed if Kansas is to see economic growth and a more prosperous citizenry.
Richard B. Myers