FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 1, 2016) – Yesterday, pursuant to the authority provided in KRS 48.620(1), Gov. Bevin reduced current fiscal year public university allotments by 4.5 percent.
Gov. Bevin said in a statement: “Our pension system is on the brink of insolvency. We have more than $35 billion in pension obligations. It takes leadership from all stewards of taxpayer dollars to keep our commitments to our teachers and state workers. I appreciate our university presidents who recognize the magnitude of this challenge and are willing to participate and contribute to the solution. Once we get our fiscal house in order, Kentucky will be in a much stronger position to make additional investments in higher education.”
Officials from the Kentucky Community and Technical College System also responded.
“KCTCS Board of Regents has anticipated and planned for a potential 4.5 percent state appropriation cut since the governor announced his budget proposals in January,” said KCTCS President Jay Box. “With three-fourths of the current budget year completed, it would be impossible for the colleges and other KCTCS operating units to balance their budgets without having access to emergency funds.”
KCTCS said in a statement: “At its March meeting, the board authorized moving nearly $8.6 million from the budget emergency fund into the operating budgets of the colleges, systemwide operations and support programs to address the potential cut in the 2015-16 budget. The budget reserve was established by the Board several years ago to maintain KCTCS operations on a one-time, non-recurring basis in the event of an emergency.”
KCTCS Board of Regents chair Marcia Roth said, “We have been prudent over the years with our budget by setting aside funds for extreme emergencies, such as natural disasters. 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.”
KCTCS stated that it “has instituted multiple cost-savings measures over the last seven years, including eliminating 262 positions in 2015. The top priority, in the face of the governor’s cut to the current KCTCS state appropriation, is to affect the least number of students and hardworking faculty and staff. There are nearly 8,000 employees across the state living in all 120 counties who will be affected by these additional cuts.”
“These deep cuts on top of the cuts received over the last seven years, and a tuition shortfall due to declining enrollment, mean people will lose jobs and programs will be eliminated. KCTCS is also the only public, postsecondary institution that froze tuition this year, and we continue to be the most affordable. However, this cut to the state appropriation will increase the need to raise tuition, which directly impact the thousands of students who access higher education through the 16 colleges.”