Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback made a stop at Butler Community College during his tour of area colleges on Monday.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback made a stop at Butler Community College during his tour of area colleges on Monday.

Brownback was visiting with college leaders to emphasize his support of his proposed budgets for Kansas universities, community colleges and technical schools.

"It has been a good education for me to see what is going on," Brownback said.

Brownback met with Butler leaders to talk about funding for higher education.

He has a proposal in front of the legislature on how to do this.

"I believe the state must live within its means and recognize there are difficult spending decisions we must make. This is why my administration has worked to reform state agencies so they are more efficient and effective," Brownback said. "However, there are core responsibilities that we must protect – higher education is one of them. My proposed two-year budget holds higher education harmless and includes targeted funding important to our state's economic growth. I have challenged education leaders to focus their schools on improving student results. It is important we keep state funding level."

Brownback sees community colleges as key connectors in the educational system. He was impressed with Butler's ability to constantly adjust to the changing economic status.

The conversation with Butler's leadership team was positive and reflected an increasing understanding at the state level of the vital role community colleges play in workforce development.

One of the things Brownback learned more about at Butler was career and technical education academies the college has with area high schools.

He heard about a first-hand experience with this through one of the four students with whom he met while at Butler.

Sky Robinson of Rose Hill will be graduating from Butler the day before she graduates from Rose Hill High School. She also has earned her CNA as a member of the first class of the Early College Health and Science Academy.

The governor talked extensively with Robinson.

When Brownback asked Sky if it was difficult to balance the two programs she said, "It is hard but it's so worth it, honestly. It is worth it."

The students were chosen based on their involvement with the college and college activities, are scholarship recipients and will graduate from Butler without debt.

"I think a big part of the future will be people doing what they want to on their own time schedule," he said, referring to the students who were able to take college classes and graduate from college while still attending high school.

The other students he met with were Tyler Franssen of Andover, a sophomore in elementary education; Emily Boem of Elbing, a sophomore in elementary education; and Amanda Morgan of LaCrosse, a sophomore in elementary education. They all are involved in various activities with the college.

"We are grateful for the governor's support of higher education in general and Butler in particular," said Dr. Karla Fisher, Butler interim president. "It was a pleasure to have Governor Brownback and two of our regents, Christine Downey-Schmidt and Robba Moran, visit our campus, meet with Butler Trustees Ted Dankert, Ron Engelbrecht and Jim Wilson and additional campus leaders, and interact with students.

"We look forward to working with the governor, the Kansas Board of Regents and our legislators to help create a brighter future for our students and for our state."