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Legislators Visit PCC for Annual Luncheon

16 December 2014

On Dec. 15, Pratt Community College held their annual Legislative Luncheon where PCC administrators and trustees met with state legislators to share ideas, concerns and discuss issues of importance to education and community colleges.
In attendance were Senator Mitch Holmes of District 33, Representative J. Basil Dannebohm of District 113, Representative Jack Thimesch of District 114, Representative Kyle Hoffman of District 116 and Representative John Ewy of District 117.
Over the course of the luncheon, attendees discussed financial data, legislative priorities and PCC’s impact on legislative districts.
“One of my main priorities is keeping SB 155 funded,” said Hoffman in reference to Senate Bill 155, under which tuition is paid by the State of Kansas for high school students to pursue college level courses in technical fields. “If I had the choice, I would cut funding to Regents universities before community colleges, because they have avenues for raising money that two year institutions don't have. We have to do what needs to be done to keep community colleges successful.”
Committee assignments have not yet been announced for the upcoming term, but Hoffman expects to again chair the Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget committee.
Representative Dannebohm echoed Hoffman’s appreciation for the role of community colleges in higher education.
“My intern attended a major four year university, and when I ask him about his experience with academic advising, he tells me that it wasn’t an experience at all - just another for to fill out before getting passed along with the rest of the crowd. I believe students should be assisted with the evaluation and assessment of their strengths. That's where the smaller community colleges really shine: getting to know their students and helping them on to individual success.”
For Representative Ewy, this luncheon was about reinforcing the need for positive relationships between legislators and community college administrators.
“We want to know when things aren’t working,” he said. “The state could not survive without the work of community colleges. We are here to be your voice in the legislature.”
Senator Holmes shared that there has been some misunderstandings about the recent changes to KPERS funding.
“We’re not cutting funding,” he said. “We’re putting in the same amount as before, this measure is only a delay in KPERS increases. It’s not as drastic as people think it is, but I still want to make sure this doesn’t ​become a habit. I don’t  want this program to be seen as low-hanging fruit in future budget discussions.”