Regardless of the funding situation, we must stay committed to maintaining the quality and integrity of the institution, ensuring our students have the same great experiences we’ve always provided.
~ President Steve Scott, June 14, 2011, budget message to the campus
Because President Steve Scott believes in communication and collaboration, one of the first things he did upon being named president, was to begin annual budget forums, where faculty and staff could ask questions and provide input into the process.
On Feb. 6, in advance of his testimony before the House budgetary committee, President Scott provided the campus with a preview of his presentation for this spring.
“One of the great things about Pittsburg State University, is the collegiality we enjoy on campus,” he explained. “It’s important for everyone to understand the legislative landscape and how decisions in Topeka will affect us here in Pittsburg.”
Standing before a room filled with faculty, staff and students, Dr. Scott started the meeting with the news everyone wanted to hear.
“Let’s cut to chase. The good news is that the governor’s budget does not cut funding for higher education. In fact, Gov. Brownback has included an additional $500,000 for a polymer chemistry program at PSU.”
As welcome as that news is for Pittsburg State, there are still many challenges that lie ahead for the university. The governor’s budget does not include money for salary increases or unfunded expenses such as salary commitments, rising health insurance premiums, emerging programs and rising utility costs.
“Health care alone is going up 12.5 percent,” he said. “It really puts us in a difficult position when state funding levels remain flat. We are doing more than just watching the budget process, we’re actively participating in it by providing testimony and advocating for Pittsburg State, its students, faculty and staff. ”
This year’s budget forum also included an overview of the legislative session from Shawn Naccarato, the director of government and community relations.
Naccarato provided participants with an insight into some of the most controversial bills facing the legislature. These included a bill that currently would allow firearms to be carried on campus and in other public buildings by licensed gun owners, a proposal to end in-state tuition for undocumented aliens, a child sex abuse reporting bill that could have broad implications for state employees away from work and a new K-12 school finance formula.
“All of these issues are significant on their own,” Naccarato explained. “It’s when you combine them into one session that you begin to realize how significant this year could be for Kansans.”
President Scott and Nacarrato said they would provide regular updates as this complex session progress, paying particular attention to actions that affect the university, students and staff.
February 2012 Budget Presentation
March 2011 Budget Presentation
April 2010 Budget Presentation
Joint Press Conference With Chancellor Gray-Little