Governor cuts education money, forces ‘rebalancing’

By Davey Smith

Gov. Sam Brownback recently announced a two percent cut to state funding for higher education.

This cut will cost HCC about $185,000 of already received aid, according to Julie Blanton, vice-president of financial affairs.

State funding accounts for approximately 28 percent of HCC’s revenue, making this cut about 0.5 percent of the money HCC receives.

Now the big question is, “How much will be cut next year?” Blanton said.

HCC receives about 11-13 percent of its revenue from student fees and tuition, to put the state funding in perspective.

State funding is almost three times what the students pay. Other revenue sources include property taxes, donations, and federal aid.

This funding cut would make the amount of money schools receive just barely higher than last year, as funding was supposed to increase this year with costs also rising.

Approximately $16 million would be taken back from schools across the state.

What really has people worried though, is the precedent set by this, allowing future funding cuts that may be larger, according to Dr. Karen Baehler, economics teacher at HCC.

When asked about changes in the HCC budget and tuition costs, Blanton said this does not currently make much of a difference; tuition costs are already being raised because of the economy.

Also, $185,000 is really a small amount when compared to how much money the college spends throughout the year.

One thing that is slightly affected is the budget for the tech programs, as equipment had been ordered with money that HCC now has to return.

This will require rebalancing that section of the budget.

Fortunately, HCC has a moderate reserve to cover budget deficits, as needed.

Ultimately, it seems that this sets a dangerous precedent, allowing the governor to cut funding without legislative action.

That said, the effects upon HCC are currently minor, and shouldn’t result in increased expenses for students.

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