Friday, April 01, 2016

Universities respond to Gov. Bevin's executive order issuing budget cuts


The governor wants to increase the state's rainy day fund, which is generally a good impulse, but in the meantime, college kids are getting soaked. Isn't this why the state keeps reserves?  ...for times like these? ...when Kentucky families need support? Right now, it is raining on the ones who will drive our economic futures, and its dong so right at the start of their most productive years.

The governor's priorities do not seem to include students past high school, but a high school diploma falls well short of what's necessary to succeed in today's economy. And although Gov. Bevin deserves full marks for his response to the pension crisis, and Senator Stivers is correct to say that it benefits universities to have a sound pension plan for its faculty - it is the thing that makes underpaying us tolerable, after all - cutting support for the education upon which the state's future workforce depends seems foolhardy; and surprising from a business man.

And still no action on the root cause of the problem...

It's not taxes that are killing Kentucky families. It's the overall cost of critical things.

Oh, and, low marks to UK junior Daniel Dilger for his, "Nothing useful I'm sure," comment.

This from WKYT:
Leaders at Kentucky's colleges and universities are still trying to figure out how they will make up for the 4.5 percent cut in funding ordered by Gov. Matt Bevin.

Eastern Kentucky University's president says their school is losing more than 3 million dollars under the steep cuts. He says they will offset the loss by digging into their reserves. The university released a statement on Friday morning that read:
EKU President Michael T. Benson
"Governor Matt Bevin’s directive to cut all public universities’ funding by 4.5% for the current fiscal year equates to approximately $3.1 million for Eastern Kentucky University. To address this cut, the EKU management team has worked diligently to cut spending for the remainder of this fiscal year and identified reserves and other non-recurring funds to meet this immediate reduction. These adjustments have been made with as little impact as possible to our top priority, our students. However, if we face continued cuts on top of the repeated decreases in funding that universities have seen the last eight years, it will be increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to meet these challenges without affecting our students.
Current state allocations represent 28.7% of the total EKU budget. Further cuts to our funding jeopardize the resources provided in the classroom and support services to all who learn, work and live on our campuses. We continue to urge our elected officials to consider the investment in human capital that public higher education represents."

Morehead State University is mandating a five day furlough for their employees.

Officials with the University of Kentucky say they are still trying to figure out how they will manage the cuts. Some students are concerned the school will lose valuable programs, while others welcome the cuts because they think there is wasteful spending.

“Gov. Bevin announced this measure in January, so we anticipated it," UK's director of public relations, Jay Blanton said. "We will be working over the next few months to implement this reduction within the context of our current-year budget. It is too early to speculate on the specific measures we will take,” he said.

Some students at UK are concerned the school will lose valuable programs.
Gov. Matt Bevin

"Research into Kentucky folk traditions, into Kentucky music, into Kentucky writing is something that really isn't done anywhere else and is something that could really be lost,"freshman, Nate Cortas said.

Others told WKYT they welcome the cuts because they think there is wasteful spending.

"I have a professor who goes frequently to Europe or the Middle East for research projects, but what are they really discussing at these philosophy conventions? Nothing useful I'm sure," said junior Daniel Dilger.

The KCTCS Board of Regents said in a news release that they have anticipated and planned for the cuts since Gov. Bevin announced his budget proposals in January. KCTCS President Jay Box Officials it would be impossible for the colleges and other KCTCS operating units to balance their budgets without having access to emergency funds this late in the current fiscal year.

“We have been prudent over the years with our budget by setting aside funds for extreme emergencies, such as natural disasters,” KCTCS Board of Regents Chair Marcia Roth said.
“Unfortunately, the timing of this cut during the fourth quarter of our budget year left us with no other option than to use these funds. Our priority is always to put our students and hardworking faculty and staff first. The use of these funds are a short-term, one-time measure for this serious situation.”

Kentucky State University told WKYT they have no comment at this time.

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