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Kentucky State University president says Gov. Bevin’s proposed budget cuts could doom school

Says school lacks resources to meet needs

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 9, 2016) — Raymond M. Burse, president of Kentucky State University, said he fears proposed budget cuts by Gov. Bevin could lead the school to be forced to close. Burse wrote a response to the proposed cuts in a newsletter published on Monday. Here is what he wrote:

Raymond M. Burse
Raymond M. Burse

“I wrote in a recent letter to the campus community and Kentucky State University constituents and supporters on the potential impact to KSU of Governor Matt Bevin’s proposed 2016-2018 biennial budget and current fiscal year 2016 budget cut. Since that correspondence, we have had additional time to analyze in detail what the Governor has proposed. Though we understand what the Governor is trying to do, his budget efforts as proposed (to this date) will be detrimental to Kentucky State. It is not that we do not want to participate, cooperate and help advance the state, but we, KSU, do not have the resources available to meet the many current needs as we move forward to address correcting years of improper processes, procedures and in some instances, yes, negligence, as to duties and responsibilities. For the past 19 months, our work has focused on correcting many of those problems. But many remain.

The major remaining issue is enrollment. On entry I took the position that a student who enrolls and matriculates in the institution should pay his or her bill. This was not done to be harsh but was necessary because the University had $17 million in student receivables outstanding and the chances of recovering those funds were bleak. Taking that action impacted enrollment. Enrollment has also been affected by following and enforcing the University’s admissions standards. Those two things in combination have placed the University in the very precarious position the Governor’s budget poses if enacted. Kentucky State cannot withstand what is being proposed in the budget. If the budget as proposed is enacted, our options would be to declare financial exigency and/or prepare a closure plan. I do not like either one of those options and I am working hard to make certain we can do our work smarter, logically and effectively to ensure that Kentucky State University is here for another 130 years. (We are currently celebrating our 130th anniversary.) This will require a great deal of work by all of us and we must meet and be ready, willing and able to face and overcome the challenge. No one is declaring defeat. For while it is day, we must work to make KSU a premier institution.

Working to make KSU a premier institution is exactly what the Math and Sciences Division is doing. The Math and Science Division has been led by Dr. Fariba Bigdeli-Jahed for the last 12 years. When one reviews that division, how it operates, the issues that it addresses, the attention provided to students, tracking their graduates successes and achievements and helping their students get into professional school, and ensuring that their students graduate, there are good things happening. And because she has led this process and these programs to the success noted Fariba Bigdeli-Jahed is this letter’s GEM.”