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Murray State President Responds to Higher Ed Cuts in Budget

Matt Markgraf, WKMS

Higher education will be cut by 4.5% under the two-year budget approved by the Kentucky state legislature Friday night. Performance-based funding will also be imposed on state colleges and universities starting in the 2018 fiscal year. Higher ed institutions will compete for 5% of state funding, which grows to 25% in 2020.

In a letter to faculty and staff, Murray State President Dr. Bob Davies shed insight into how the university is preparing for these cuts.

Regarding performance funding, Davies says a statewide work group of university presidents, the Council on Postsecondary Education President, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate and the Governor (or their delegates) will determine performance metrics. He says in theory, colleges and universities could "earn back" the 5% portion of their budget. While exact methods and attributes have yet to be determined, graduation rates and STEM-H degrees have been previously discussed.

Davies adds that this Thursday will be the court hearing regarding the rescission of 2% in the current fiscal year appropriation.

When reductions were proposed earlier this year, Murray State established two budget task force committees (Academic and Support) to evaluate university functions. Davies says these committees continue to share their insight and recommendations for reductions, which will be vetted by his Executive Committee before final decisions are made. The committees are looking at reductions and revenue increases, he says, and now that there is more clarity in the budget they will begin to "hone in on the specifics."

After Governor Bevin signs the budget, Murray State will hold a "Town Hall" on the week of April 25 (time and date to be announced).

The budget is now in the hands of Gov. Bevin, where he has until April 27 to veto all or parts of the budget.

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
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