Kansas Senator Laura Kelly Says Subcommittee Targeting KU In Budget

Mar 19, 2014

Updated at 11:44 a.m CT:

A Kansas Senate committee is considering a budget bill that would restore some funding to state universities that was cut last year.

However, the bill caused some heated words about whether lawmakers are targeting the University of Kansas.

The bill eliminates $2 million dollars Governor Sam Brownback had proposed for a program to help commercialize KU research.

Only KU had a program proposal deleted from the governor's suggestions. Topeka Democrat Laura Kelly says the committee targeted KU.

The subcommittee's recommendation, if enacted, send a clear message to others that the legislature does not support its flagship university," Kelly says. "This lack of support is likely to result in premier faculty taking their research dollars elsewhere." 

Salina Republican Tom Arpke chairs the subcommittee that built the budget. He says that he wasn't happy with the funding reports provided by KU, and that they showed unspent revenues that the university could use.

"So essentially unaccounted for $185 million dollars, and I really expect comprehensive reports that cover all revenue and expenditures," Arpke says.  

KU officials say the Lawrence campus has $3.7 million in reserves but the KU Med Center has no reserve funds.

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little says there's no requirement or expectation that they spend down their reserves to zero every year, and that it's a common practice for universities to have some reserves.