The executive director of the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees braved predicted inclement weather Tuesday to drive from Topeka for the Barton Community College Board of Trustees meeting. KACCT Director Linda Fund planned to be back in Topeka today when the 2016 Legislature resumes its work.
Fund talked about state funding issues that the Legislature faces.
“You may have heard; there is no money,” she said.
The Consensus Revenue Estimating Group’s latest estimate is that Kansas will receive $93.9 million less revenue than it projected last November. The estimators also predicted the state will receive $134.2 million less than estimated in the upcoming fiscal year, the second year of the two-year budget.
“What that means is a substantial shifting and cutting of funds,” Fund said.
The governor proposed three options:
Option One (preferred by Gov. Sam Brownback):
• Transfer $70 million from the Highway Fund to the State General Fund in FY 2016 and another $115 million in FY 2017.
• Capture proceeds from the sale of Kansas Bioscience Authority assets ($25 million in FY 2017).
• Reduce Regents university State General Fund appropriations by $17.7 million – about 3 percent of approved budgets.
• Securitize future tobacco settlement payments to gain a one-time cash infusion of approximately $158 million in FY 2017.
• Find $6.5 million savings from efficiency study.
• Delay the fourth quarter Kansas Public Employee Retirement System-School $92 million payment in FY 2016 and FY 2017.
• Suspend employer contributions to KPERS-State for the last four pay cycles of FY 2016 to save $7 million to State General Fund; repay it in FY 2017.
Option Two is the same as Option One, except it delays repayment of the KPERS contributions to FY 2018, does not securitize tobacco settlement, and the governor would take $25 million in “targeted efficiencies.”
Option Three is the same as Option One, with a larger Regents university cut plus a $5.9 million cut to the KBOR Office that would affect every State General Fund line-item: agency operations, student financial aid, tiered and non-tiered state aid, SB 155 (free tuition for high school students enrolled in college career/technical courses), Adult Basic Education and all other grant programs administered.
Also in the third option, there is no securitization of the tobacco settlement and no proceeds taken from the Bioscience Authority.
The only option that hurts Kansas community colleges is the third option, Fund said. Many people don’t realize that community colleges would be affected, since they aren’t named, but their funding goes through the Board of Regents’ office.
As the Legislature takes up these matters, it may choose one of the governor’s options, or it may come up with its own plan. “I believe most think there will be a 3-5 percent cut for all,” she said. “We shall see.”
Contracts and other business
Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting started with a 30-minute executive session that included trustees and Barton President Carl Heilman, for the discussion of personnel.
Later in the meeting, trustees approved faculty contracts for the next year, and hired Mike Brown as the head coach of men’s soccer.
The board also approved the purchase of a used coach-type bus for $149,900, expanding its fleet from three buses to four. Jim Ireland, coordinator of facility management, provided information.
The current fleet includes a 2006 Chevrolet AeroElite, 24 passenger, 175,000 miles, and two 44-passenger International buses that were purchased new. The 2007 International has 204,000 miles and the 2008 International has 180,000 miles. Both were basically school buses that were upgraded to work as college transport buses.
There are many times during the year that the three buses do not meet the needs of the college, Ireland said. “With the size of some teams, along with the number of teams and clubs traveling, we end up sending buses, vans and cars to cover all the travel needs for the various groups.”
Ireland noted that the college did not buy cars and vans this year so it could save money for another bus. Finding a good used bus for the right price wasn’t easy. The staff found a 2006, MCI J-4500, 56-passenger Coach that has been owned by a family run charter business. It has 440,000 miles on it, with an engine rebuild at 357,000 miles that is still under warranty. “Our mechanic, Ghazi (Jahay) has inspected the coach and is satisfied with its mechanical condition. The overall condition of this coach is excellent,” Ireland said.