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Kansas Board of Regents president yet to clear up spending ‘confusion’

From Kansas Watchdog.

Kansas Board of Regents president yet to clear up spending ‘confusion’

By , Kansas Watchdog

OSAWATOMIE, Kan. — More than a month after pledging to clear up confusion regarding collegiate spending, the president of the Kansas Board of Regents has yet to make good on his word.

Maybe it just slipped his mind?

Andy Tompkins, Kansas Board of Regents

In early November, Regents’ President Andy Tompkins said he planned to meet with Dave Trabert, president of the Kansas Policy Institute, to straighten out some confusion regarding allegations of dramatically increased administrative spending atSunflower State universities. The commitment arose after Tompkins fired back at conservative state lawmakers touting a KPI report that details expenditure trends over the past decade.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports:

On higher education over the past decade, it says, “In summation: state funding has remained static; enrollment has increased 12 percent; inflation has only increased 25 percent; yet tuition has grown 136.9 percent.

“Over this same 10-year period, General Use administrative costs (Institutional Support) have increased 78 percent, more than three times the rate of inflation.”

The numbers come directly from a report by the Wichita-based KPI, which advocates for lower government spending. KPI’s data collection is often cited by Republican legislative leaders.

Trabert told Kansas Watchdog that Tompkins has yet to follow through on his pledge. And, to be honest, Trabert said “I didn’t really expect him too.”

“There is no misunderstanding, we’re just reading their financial statements,” said Trabert, who noted he’s still interested in meeting with Tompkins. “If their financial statements are misstated, then certainly we’d like to know that.”

Kansas Watchdog reached out to Tompkins to see why he had not yet contacted Trabert. The Regents’ president declined to specify exactly what confusion there was surrounding the KPI report, but thanked Kansas Watchdog for the reminder.

Higher education officials defended findings uncovered in a similar investigationconducted by Kansas Watchdog earlier this year.

But if Tompkins really was interested in ironing-out the kinks in KPI’s report, he has had the opportunity to do so for months.

Trabert said the Kansas think tank released the data in April, and reached out to the Board of Regents shortly after to discuss the findings.

“(Tompkins) said ‘no thanks, we already have it,’” Trabert said.

“We’d love to help,” Trabert said “All they have to do is ask.”

Contact Travis Perry at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter at@muckraker62. Like Watchdog.org? Click HERE to get breaking news alerts in YOUR state!