Governor Visits Salina Medical School

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback concluded a statewide tour with a stop in Salina Tuesday afternoon.

The governor talked with students and faculty, and toured the University of Kansas School of Medicine’s Salina campus.

Brownback began his tour more than two weeks ago while legislators were on their monthlong recess. He wants legislators to keep funding for the higher education stable in the 2014 budget. Legislators are going the opposite direction, with the House seeking a 4 percent cut and the Senate a 2-percent cut. The governor also wants to keep the state’s sales tax rate at 6.3 percent instead of reducing it to 5.7 percent as scheduled in July.

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little was at the stop in Salina Tuesday. She said that if the House idea passes, the university would have to make some drastic cuts. The cuts would include the medical school in Salina, the program in Wichita, the residency program, the nursing program, and about 38 faculty positions in Lawrence.

Brownback said that the medical school in Salina “wouldn’t have gotten to this stage without an investment from the community”. Salina Regional Health Center was instrumental in the program, and several community members have made donations to help furnish the facility.

Class size at the Salina campus is limited to eight, making it the smallest four-year medical-education site in the country. With the small class size university leaders believe it can serve as a model for the nation. There are currently two classes enrolled, a total of 16 students. The first class of eight will graduate in 2015.

Doctors who graduate from the program at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Salina will more than likely practice in rural communities.