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State could add $8 million for tech education
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Kansas community colleges and technical schools could receive an additional $8 million next year, all for technical education, Barton Community College Dean of Administration Mark Dean told the BCC Board of Trustees on Monday, at the monthly study session.

That is just a fraction of the $67.5 million in new money it would take to fully fund technical education based on a new funding model the Legislature will consider this year. And it adds zero dollars in new money for general education courses, even though fully funding the new model would cost an additional $24 million in that area as well.

Even so, administrators at Barton Community College anticipate the new funding model will help schools receive state aid that is based more on the actual cost of presenting the courses. That means state aid for an hour of nursing instruction will be higher than state aid for an hour of basic math instruction. And the budget being considered will include at least some new money, Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said.

"They’re going to put $8 million in this year; that is the hope," Heilman said.

A new formula also includes "re-centering" the distribution of state aid. With no new money, that would mean winners and losers, but with the additional money, the "winners" — which includes Barton — will give up a portion of their gain to offset the potential losses of Colby Community College and seven other schools. "We have all been promised that you will not receive any less this year than you did last year," Dean said. Barton’s share of the $8 million would be 7.91 percent, of $632,800.

"It’s all tied to enrollment," Heilman said, explaining why Barton could expect more state aid next year. "This year at least, we were one of the few institutions with positive enrollment.

Barton Community College has also benefitted from its relationship with Fort Riley, where soldiers and their families can take BCC courses. College trustees are planning a two-day board retreat at the Fort Riley campus. The dates proposed are March 8-9, although board chairman Mike Johnson said an April retreat is also a possibility.