PITTSBURG, Kans. — For the first time in a long time, an area university leader isn’t dreading the start of the legislative session.
“I started in the Great Recession and ending in a global pandemic,” said Dr. Steve Scott, President, Pittsburg State University.
Dr. Steve Scott has been at PSU for 34 years, the last 13 as president. As he nears his last semester in that capacity, he’s cautiously optimistic when it comes to the legislative session now underway in Topeka.
Gone is the dread he’s used to feeling this time of year and credits governor Laura Kelley for that.
“You know I think the Governor has recognized the important role we play in economic development. She recognized the concerns of tuition increases over time and also she recognized that we have had our budget cut in years past, and so really her budget includes a number of items that address those things.”
Governor Kelley wants to freeze college tuition at the state’s public universities and is proposing 45.7 million dollars in funding increases to make up for the money tuition hikes would have brought in.
“Even if the legislature funds all or most of what the Governor is asking for, that still doesn’t mean cuts are out of the question.”
Even if they are needed, Scott says they won’t be on a scale of years past. And he says messages or letters to area lawmakers wouldn’t hurt, regardless of their political party.
“The state has more money than it’s ever had in it’s history. On a one-time basis, we really need to make progress this year, and I would say on behalf of the faculty and staff here we deserve the kind of investment that the Governor has presented so we’d be very hopeful that our donors, our supporters, the community would get behind this and be supportive,” added Scott.