K-State Research and Extension is a short name for the Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, a partner in the nationwide land-grant system of universities, created in the 1860s to educate people from all walks of life and to generate and distribute useful public knowledge. K-State scientists and extension faculty draw on the expertise and accumulated studies and discoveries of the land-grant system, other universities, state and federal agencies, and industry.
Last night I was informed about looming cuts to K-State Research and Extension by the House and Senate Budget Conference Committee, cuts pushed by Rep. Virgil Peck (R) of Tyro, KS. This is the same Virgil Peck who, two years ago, took major heat after suggesting that illegal immigrants be shot like wild hogs by gunmen in helicopters.
Rep. Peck has now set his sights on K-State Research & Extension’s budget for the next two years. The following message was sent out by Kansas State University’s Director of K-State Research and Extension and Dean of the College of Agriculture, John Floros:
Dear faculty and staff in the College of Agriculture and K-State Research and Extension:
Yesterday we were informed of a State legislative proposal that, if it came to pass, it will have a seriously negative impact and many lasting effects to the College of Agriculture and to all of our K-State Research & Extension activities.
With respect to the KSU budget, the House/Senate Conference Committee agreed to 1.5% across the board cut for the next fiscal year (FY ’14), and an additional 1.5% across the board cut for FY ’15. In addition, they proposed an immediate “salary cap lapse.” In simple terms, this means a sweep of all vacant position lines at a given date (proposed for sometime in March ‘13). For the CoA and KSRE it amounts to approximately 8% permanent budget reduction. The total budget reduction would be about 11% (~9.5% for FY ’14 (8% from the lapse + 1.5% FY ’14 cut), plus 1.5% for FY ’15). It translates into a devastating number of more than 100 staff and faculty positions. A crisis in the making!
Our K-State Governmental Relations team is hard at work in Topeka trying to explain the enormous impact such cuts would have to the University, the College of Agriculture, and to K-State Research and Extension. Hopefully, this legislative proposal will not be accepted by the vote of the Kansas legislature, and the crisis will be avoided. Stay tuned…”
The best thing all Kansans can do is contact their legislators and even the Governor and demand that the cuts to K-State Research & Extension be reconsidered. From what I understand, it will only take 63 votes for this effort to pass, so time is of the essence to stop this evisceration of a vital state program. For more information on K-State Research and Extension, and the work they do across Kansas, please go to www.ksre.ksu.edu or read the 2013 Legislative Report at http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/doc14876.ashx.