New Kansas Governor Laura Kelly taking office has generated conversation about her budget release and what it means for education.
“It’s both exciting and a little bit of a mystery when someone new comes into offices,” said Emporia State President Allison Garrett. “We did a general assembly with all of campus...I mentioned that there would be a lot to be learned from (Kelly’s) state of the state address...and then from her...budget.”
One big focus of her budget was the impact it would have on funding for K-12 and higher education. Dennis Mullin, Kansas Board of Regents chair, gave a statement following the release of Kelly’s budget recommendation.
“Governor Kelly’s budget proposal that adds $9 million for public higher education in the next fiscal year is a step in the right direction,” Mullin said. “Education beyond high school represents the best path towards prosperity for Kansas families, businesses and communities. As such, it is imperative that our state invest in its universities, community colleges and technical colleges and restore the significant reductions that have been made since 2008. We will continue to work with the Governor and Legislature to fully restore funding to higher education and keep tuition as low as possible for Kansas families.”
Michael Webb, Associated Student Government president and senior business administration major, said he was looking forward to the changes coming.
“I reviewed her budget very briefly and it looks like we’re getting the (money) restored that was cut in 2017…,” Webb said. “I’m glad to see that there’s also investment in the regent institutions as well and that will definitely help us.”
According to Webb, Kelly’s focus in K-12 education will ultimately help higher education.
“Initially, her investments in the K-12 schools will better prepare students, provide more resources to prepare students for whatever they do after (high school), including a possible post-secondary career,” Webb said. “I think that will transition onto our campus and maybe show a need for change in the way we help students transition from high school into the post-secondary system.”
Garrett said she’s most looking forward to have someone in office that has experience as a legislator.
“Two things that I think are very exciting are that as a long-time legislator she has demonstrated her willingness to work across the aisle, which is something that is very much needed in Kansas at this time,” Garrett said. “Also, as a long-time legislator she has a fairly deep understanding of the budget and that is not always the case when someone new takes office, I think it helps her hit the ground running.”