Monday, February 27, 2012

Slow on Pikeville

Bill Bryant hosted a great interview with UPike President Paul Patton and Morehead President Wayne Andrews on WKYT's Kentucky Newsmakers this weekend. Both men acquitted themselves well.

In part 1, Bryant took some time at the beginning to separate Patton and Andrews from the rancor surrounding the issue.

In Part 2, Bill raises the issues surrounding Speaker Greg Stumbo's punitive open records request. But for some reason I can't get Vimeo to display both videos in the same post (which hasn't happened before) so find it here.

This from The Courier-Journal:
The proposal to bring the University of Pikeville into the state system of higher education merits respectful debate. But its potential educational and financial impact is far too great to justify putting the idea on a fast track in the current legislative session.
The notion that the merger proposal — contained in House Bill 260 — could be carefully studied, weighed and enacted by lawmakers by the end of next month is absurd. Consideration of a measure of such far-reaching and potentially harmful effect should be measured in months and perhaps years, not weeks.
The imperative of moving cautiously is made all the greater by the initial impression that the proposal poses many more problems and concerns than obvious advantages.

First off, advocates put the cart before the horse. They begin by insisting that a state university be placed in Pikeville to serve students in the “Eastern Kentucky coalfield,” instead of first demonstrating the need for a new full-fledged state campus and then showing that Pikeville would be the best site.
The idea of a ninth public four-year university carries grave financial and enrollment implications for existing schools, especially those that already serve the mountains, and must not be blithely sidestepped. Moreover, Pikeville is not a central Eastern Kentucky location — it’s at the eastern edge of one of the region’s three coalfields — and seems as well situated to draw from West Virginia as from Kentucky.
Moreover, the financial ramifications of a merger cannot be adequately addressed during this session of the General Assembly. Supporters propose transferring Pikeville’s buildings to state ownership and budgeting the new university with coal severance-tax revenue. Even if that money can be wrested from regional officials’ hands — and there would be stout resistance — the funds at best will cover operating costs. What about the capital financing to upgrade Pikeville’s aging facilities?
And what is the economic impact on universities, especially Morehead State, that would lose students and state funding. And down the road, “Pikeville State” surely would insist on every program and amenity that other regional universities have. How will that be paid for? And why does Pikeville expect a bailout that other private colleges in Eastern Kentucky won’t get?
The strongest case for the merger is the need to offer more students in an economically depressed area an affordable college education. But Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky universities already provide financial assistance to thousands of students. Couldn’t further aid be made available — at much less cost than a merger — by diverting some of the severance-tax proceeds to financial aid to coalfields students to be used at any Kentucky public or private college?
Meanwhile, House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a key backer of the Pikeville plan, is out of line to condemn Morehead State’s board for its opposition. The situation calls for facts and reason, not name-calling.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Don't understand how a general assembly which last year couldn't even agree to spend money on category five school construction for K-12 buildings that were in the worst condition in the state, but somehow this year they are suppose to justify spending money on making a private university into a public university.

Politics always seems to trump pupils in this state.