Governor talks higher ed funding at Emporia State
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On Monday, Gov. Sam Brownback visited four regent universities to talk to students about House Bill 2506. Emporia State was just the second school on the schedule that day. Other schools included Pittsburgh State, Wichita State and Kansas State.
After a private meeting between the governor and a group of administrators, Brownback spoke with great enthusiasm over the successes of the state of Kansas that have occurred during his run.
“This has been a tough season coming out of this recession, and now we’re in a better position,” Brownback said. “Fiscally, we ought to end this fiscal year with probably over 500 million dollars cash on hand. The first year I came in we had a little less than a thousand dollars cash on hand for the state of Kansas.”
Brownback went on to say that investing in higher education is “critically important” to the future of Kansas.
“Last summer, I challenged the legislature to provide consistent funding for higher education,” Brownback said. “The discussions that took place during a tour of our regent institutions were productive and meaningful… Our regent systems fuel our economic engine, by creating a highly skilled workforce, and nurturing the next generation of Kansas teachers, doctors, business people and others.”
Students who attended the speech took particular notice of the part about nurturing the next generation of Kansas teachers.
“He only referred to the funding Emporia State was getting, and the increase in funding, but he forgets that the Supreme Court is forcing him to give us extra funding for the schools,” said Jordan Gobely, sophomore political science major. “I don’t believe he’s actually in favor of higher ed. As far as House Bill 2506 goes… it was definitely watered down on what it is actually written in the litigation.”
According to “The Wichita Eagle,” KVOE posted an audio clip from Monday morning where Brownback said, “Emporia State, when I sign the budget, and I will, will receive $572,000, over $572,000, in salary cap restoration for this fiscal year.”
Several hours later, in Wichita, Brownback said he hadn’t made a decision on the bill yet.
According to Gobely, House Bill 2506 will remove due process and tenure for teachers.
“It gives administration way more power than they deserve to have, and it eliminates the last final power the teachers could have,” Gobely said.
Sarah Clark, freshman math education major, said she is concerned as a future teacher.
“Job security is one of the things that we’re kind of scared about, just in general…And I can understand, he does a lot for our great state, but at the same time, there’s stuff I wish he would be considerate of,” Clark said.
Brownback must make a decision on the bill by April 26.