Jayhawks for Higher Education: June 22

Dear Jayhawks for Higher Education,

The Legislature concluded its work June 10 and will return to Topeka Monday, June 26, for sine die, its ceremonial adjournment of the 2017 session.

Legislators approved a budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 that reverses the disproportionate cuts to KU and K-State made by the governor last year. The budget reduces that 5.1 percent cut for KU to 3 percent by fiscal year 2019 and makes the higher education block grant equitable for all Regents universities. This change is critical because the FY19 budget will be the basis for future budgets proposed by the next governor.

Sen. Vicki Schmidt, a member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, crafted an amendment reversing the unfair cuts to KU and K-State. The Ways and Means Committee passed her amendment unanimously, and Rep. Troy Waymaster, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, introduced the identical amendment to his committee, which also approved it unanimously. The identical language and unanimous approval of both committees ensured that the measure would be included in the Legislature’s budget for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. We’re grateful to Sen. Schmidt and Rep. Waymaster, two of the 25 KU graduates in the Jayhawk Caucus, and other legislators who supported their efforts.

In addition, we thank you, our alumni advocates, for urging legislators to restore equitable and stable higher education funding.

The Regents will begin to shape higher education’s 2018 legislative priorities later this summer, as the Alumni Association and Jayhawks statewide welcome Chancellor Douglas A. Girod, who is well known in the Legislature through his leadership as executive vice chancellor of KU Medical Center. We are working with his team and KU Endowment to plan Kansas events from August through October, and we will reach out to key volunteers to help finalize the details.

We look forward to working with Chancellor Girod as we continue to strengthen the University of Kansas.

As always, thanks for your KU loyalty.

Rock Chalk,

Heath Peterson, d’04, g’09