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any employee for cause; and that salaries are to be fixed by the board upon the recommendation of the superintendents or the executive officials. They, too, are responsible for all the supplies and property belonging to the institutions under their charge.
The law provides that the "business manager shall under the board have full authority to manage and control such institutions by and with the advice of the board and to purchase all the supplies required by such institutions.” In the statute as amended in 1921 it is stated that the business manager shall cause a full and complete inventory to be made at each institution; that under the direction of the board he shall have full charge of erecting all buildings and making all repairs; and that heafter full conference with the superintendent or other executive officer of the institutions * * * with the advice and consent of the State board of administration, shall prepare for the use of the governor biennial estimates of appropriations necessary and pioperly to be made for the use of the institutions under his control, and recommendations for special expenditures for buildings, betterments, or other improvements.
It is also provided that contracts for all buildings are to be let only after public bids have been submitted and accepted in accordance with the specifications as laid down by the State architect. It is also stated that the act contemplates the keeping of such records and accounts as will show "not only the cost of maintaining each of said institutions but the per capita cost of maintaining the inmates thereof."
It is obvious that the act is full of inconsistencies. In the first place, the relations of the business manager to the board are by no means clear. The law provides that he is to be appointed by the board; that "under the board" he is to "manage and control” the institutions, the very words used in conferring authority on the board itself; that with the "advice and consent" of the board he, not the board, shall transmit to the governor biennial estimates of the needs of the institutions. On the other hand, one finds provisions authorizing the board to make rules and regulations with respect to the advertisement of bids, and in another place the "board" is authorized to purchase chemicals and other materials. Obviously it was intended to make the office of business manager of some consequence, and in doing so the respective functions of the board and the business manager are so intermingled as to be workable only by common forbearance.
The next obvious fact is that the law was evidently not written with the institutions of higher learning primarily in mind, nor, if we may judge by the wording, even secondarily in mind. Nowhere throughout the law do we find the words chancellor, president, professor, or instructor mentioned, whereas the paragraphs are replete with the words superintendent, warden, "other executive officer,"
clerks, officials, steward, employee, guards, and inmates. Indeed, if it were not for the fact that the institutions of higher learning were specifically named in one of the paragraphs and that "educational institutions’are spoken of in seven other places in the act, there is nothing in the law which would lead the casual reader to suspect that it 'referred to the University of Kansas, the State agricultural college, or the three State normal schools.
A study of the act creating the board of administration convinces one that the dominant motives in the mind of the legislature were to eliminate as many State boards as possible and by the establishment of a central business office to save the tax payers of the State a large amount of money. It was apparently presumed that the control and management of all State institutions of whatever character and the purchase of supplies for them was sufficiently similar in character as to constitute a common problem.
The basis of this thinking is largely fallacious. Already it has been demonstrated that the purchase of technical apparatus and supplies for institutions of higher learning is quite a different matter from buying food supplies for the State hospitals. The business manager in Kansas has recognized this fact and therefore, respecting the higher institutions, largely confines his attention to supervising the erection of buildings, buying coal, ordering expeditiously the particular apparatus and supplies requested by the officers at the higher institutions, and to checking up the accounts of the institutions to see that they do not exceed their appropriations. In other words, the higher institutions have for the most part been given all the latitude they need in the purchase of supplies, and there is therefore uniform satisfaction with that arrangement.
The most fallacious part of the present law establishing the board of administration is the assumption that there is some inherent relationship between charitable, correctional, and penal institutions, on the one hand, and colleges, universities, and normal schools, on the other. It is true that there should be arrangements, for example, whereby the medical school of the State university may have easy access to the State hospitals, in order that each type of institution may have the benefits that arise from close association with one another. It is a well recognized fact, also, that at the correctional institutions, and to a certain extent at the penal institutions, the educational element is being stressed more and more as the most effective means of reforming character and training both younger and older people for remunerative vocations. It should be realized, however, that, in dealing with the education of people confined to these institutions, the board is confronted with the problem of training more or less abnormal or subnormal people in elementary and vocational studies, whereas in the institutions of higher learning it is responsible for policies relating to the most specialized and professional studies that the State supports. Presumably for these reasons no other States except Kansas and North Dakota have placed their institutions of higher learning under the same control with the charitable and penal institutions.
Apart from the considerations which have been mentioned is the fact that the present board has too little time to devote to the consideration of problems relating to higher education. Its attention is so engrossed with problems of general and internal nature, including paroles and pardons, at the penal and correctional institutions, that it is quite impossible for the board to devote the time and attention necessary for the most satisfactory development of sound educational policies relating to higher education. The State can not afford either from a financial or educational point of view to neglect so important a consideration.
It should be recalled also that the term of office for the appointed members of the board is only four years, a situation which, taken in conjunction with the fact that the governor is a member and chairman of the board, gives to him the political opportunities which in other States, as already stated, have been found to be unwise. Not the least of these dangers is the possible unwise or improper selection of a business manager. It should be recognized at once that nothing contained in this criticism is in any way directed at the present business manager or at the personnel of the board, past or present. Indeed, on the contrary, we have in the present board an eloquent example of the well-known fact that any system of government may be workable provided it is conducted by good and capable men.
Because the board has not had adequate time to devote to the higher institutions, it follows that it has been unable to collect statistics and other data running through a series of years, which enables it to keep abreast of the developments at the several higher institutions. There is, for example, no common basis for gathering statistics concerning salaries, teaching load, student attendance, use of room space, or the cost of instruction. Consequently, the board has at its disposal only general information and impressions gained from noncomparable data for use in determining the respective budgets to be submitted to the legislature.
The true significance of this situation is the fact that, while through the business manager ample provision is made for the economical purchase of supplies and technical apparatus, for the erection of buildings and repair of buildings at the lowest possible cost, and for checking each item of expenditure against the appropriation, there is as yet no organization, except at individual institutions such as the university and the State agricultural college, to study costs and expenditures with a view to the wisest and most economical use of the funds entrusted to each institution. An organization of this
sort is fully capable of saving to each institution and to the State far more than a central purchasing agency is likely to save.
The board has given inadequate attention to the number and character of new courses of study introduced from time to time at each institution. The following data regarding the introduction of degree curricula at the several institutions since 1917 illustrate this statement:
1. UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS. 1919. Requirements for admission to the law school increased from 30 to 60 hours of arts and science work; effective 1921-22; authorized by board of administration, December 9, 1919.
1920. Course of study leading to degree of bachelor of science in architecture : authorized by the board of administration, January 21, 1920.
1921. Four-year course of study leading to degree of bachelor of design voted by faculty of the school of fine arts; not referred to the board of administration.
2. KANSAS STATE AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE. 1919. Four-year curricula leading to bachelor's degrees in agricultural chemistry, biological chemistry, and industrial chemistry; not referred to the board of administration.
1920. Four-year curriculum leading to bachelor of music degree; not referred to the board of administration.
1921. Four-year curriculum in rural commerce; informal consent of the board of administration
3. STATE MANUAL TRAINING NORMAL SCHOOL. 1919. Agreement between the university and the Pittsburg Normal School for the former to accept the first two years of the four-year engineering course of study as given at the normal school and for the normal school to conduct two-year curricula in industrial engineering; agreement authorized by the board of administration.
4. FORT HAYS KANSAS STATE NORMAL SCHOOL. 1920. One-year curriculum in telegraphy and railway station training; informal approval of the board of administration.
The introduction of these curricula were important departures in the policies of the several institutions and should have received more formal consideration by the board of administration than was given in most instances. Otherwise the danger of undesirable duplication of work is greatly increased. Indeed the commission is convinced that some of these departures in policy which have been taken without adequate consideration by the board of administration are fraught with dangers which will be more fully appreciated in the future than now.
Notwithstanding these criticisms of the legal basis of the present board and its failure to accomplish some of the things that might reasonably be expected of a central board, it should be realized that the policy of noninterference in the internal affairs of the higher institutions which the board has followed consistently has had a wholesome effect at the institutions. No educational institution can develop properly if there is constant interference by the governing board with the details of administration. The attitude of the present board in this particular has been most commendable.
Moreover, the present board by its quiet and sometimes informal influence has succeeded in eliminating a number of interinstitutional difficulties, with the result that the relations between the institutions are probably more friendly now than they have been for many years. Furthermore, the central business office has commanded such general approval that no suggestions for any change in that respect have been made. Indeed, it is not too much to say that, on account of its policy of noninterference in the internal affairs of the educational institutions, the entire administration of the board has been generally commended at the institutions.
In this review of the manner in which the Kansas Board of Administration meets the approved standards for the governing boards of higher institutions, it is apparent that the commission feels that the law in Kansas provides a very inadequate basis for the most satisfactory governing board of the Kansas institutions of higher learning. It is convinced that, notwithstanding the comparative success of the board up to this time, the present arrangement will, for the reasons which have been set forth, prove, sooner or later, to be unsatisfactory. On this account the commission is driven to the conclusion that the control and management of the institutions of higher learning should be divorced from the other institutions now in charge of the board of administration.
A far better arrangement would be a new nonpaid board of from seven to nine members, appointed by the governor for terms of from seven to nine years, to take over the control and administration of these institutions. The business manager's office, with a clear definition of its functions and of its relations to the new board, should remain essentially as at present, except that the larger institutions need more competent business officers. A well-trained educator with no administrative duties should become the secretary of the new board and should, under the direction of the board, devise plans for gathering at regular intervals comparable statistics and other data for the use of the board.
The commission is strongly of the opinion that such a central board would be free from the possibility of undesirable political influence, that it would attract men of marked ability and sound judgment to its membership, that through the office of secretary it would be able to secure from the institutions comparable statistics and other data in order to make intelligent decisions, that it would have adequate opportunity to consider and develop continuously large educational policies without any temptation to interfere in the internal administration of the institution, and that in general it would devote itself zealously to the promotion of higher education in the State.