Regents Spending Plan and Wichita State University’s Spending Criticized
From Kansas Taxpayers Network
“Wichita State University’s part and the rest of the “crumbling classrooms” Regents Institution’s spending plan raises troubling fiscal problems now,” warned Kansas Taxpayers Network’s Executive Director Karl Peterjohn. “The initial list of proposed expenditures from the Board of Regents included substantial amounts of dubious spending proposals. Statewide over $1.4 million in spending on six presidential mansions was recommended in the November 29, 2006 spending plan. The total cost at all six universities is $727 million.
At that time, over $4 million was proposed for Cessna Stadium alone. Tens of millions more were included in other sports complexes like Allen Field House, Ahearn Field House, and Bramlage Coliseum. K.U. also wanted over $378,000 for airplane hangars,” Peterjohn said.
Specifically, the November 29, 2006 proposal had taxpayers picking up $113,580 in remodeling and expansion costs for the property tax free presidential residence at W.S.U. The Cessna Stadium price tag was $4,012,225. Smaller amounts sought by W.S.U. included $36,757 for the Golf Pro Shop.
Since that time additional dubious spending of $450,000 for a giant millipede statue has been the most publicized W.S.U. spending proposal in March. “The university has hundreds of thousands of dollars for an ugly arthropod statue but can’t take care of its buildings,” Peterjohn said. “A decade ago the six universities were provided with millions in bond funds to take care of its facilities during the Graves administration. Sadly, it does not appear that good stewardship is occurring at W.S.U. or on the other five Regents Institution campuses,” Peterjohn added.
When Wichita University was absorbed into the Regents system a supposedly “temporary” property tax of 1.5 mills was continued on property taxpayers in Sedgwick County. That property tax has apparently become permanent and is an additional source of W.S.U. revenue totaling roughly $6.6 million a year.
“The Regents are spending over $1.872 billion in funds this year that includes $435 million in students’ tuition (see Vol. 1 2008 Governor’s budget report page 117). This spending now exceeds $20,000 per pupil, including tuition, annually. Why can’t these six tax funded universities operate with this already very generous amount of funding and take care of their buildings with this money?” said Peterjohn.
Wichita State University’s 2007 budget has spending at $194.6 million. By comparison, K.U. and the K.U. Medical Center have a combined spending of $796.7 million while Kansas State University is at $647.1 million for this year.