Kansas legislators said Wednesday that a two-week tour of the state's public colleges and universities provided a good exchange of information ahead of their 2014 session.
Members of the House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means committees finished the tour at two campuses of the University of Kansas in Kansas City, Kansas, and Lawrence. The fact-finding trek began October 22 and included visits to each of the state's six universities, a community college and technical school.
Senate Ways and Means Chair Ty Masterson said the visits with campus leaders gave legislators the answers to questions about allocating state funds. He conceded that there had been tensions between legislators and those in higher education over the perception that universities were bloated or that legislators were only looking for ways to cut spending.
Masterson said that even though there was a perceived disconnect, legislators and the college leaders were learning that they shared the goal of creating jobs and training the workforce.
Representative Jerry Henry, a Cummins Democrat, said he thinks the visits will cause legislators to rethink a decision to cut $33 million from higher education budgets over the next two fiscal years.