Blake Flanders, the President of the Kansas Board of Regents was our speaker at Rotary yesterday.

          He started his presentation by explaining that the cost of higher education in Kansas hasn't risen that much over the last ten years, but it seems that way because of WHO pays for education.

          He presented a graph with one line showing state support for higher education in Kansas. The other line illustrated tuition costs at state schools over the past ten years. It was pretty dramatic because the lines make a very obvious X!

          While total expenses for public college education in Kansas has increased at a rate about equal to the consumer cost index, TUITION COSTS have SKYROCKETED because our Kansas legislators have drastically cut what they are providing.  

          Flanders next showed us the benefits of having more citizens with some post-secondary education. Not necessarily a bachelor's degree, but something beyond high school. The rewards to our economy would be great.

          So I asked Kansas Board of Regents President Blake Flanders this question:

          You make a very compelling case demonstrating that a more affordable post-secondary education would have a very positive effect on our Kansas economy, yet our legislators choose lower taxes over-investing in higher education.

          Even when the benefit to our state would result in a more robust economy and lower taxes, the folks in Topeka fail to act.     Isn't that a prime example of being "Penny wise and pound foolish?"

          Flanders politely thanked me for my question and calmly explained that his group is constantly making that case and has high hopes the legislature is listening.

          The Regents request from the Kansas Legislature for next year is for an additional $95 million. That's designed to keep tuition flat at schools like Emporia State.

          Guess that would be a step in the right direction, but it would still be: PENNY WISE AND POUND FOOLISH!

          I’m Steve Sauder

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