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EKU President Applauds Pension Reforms, Says Decisions Still Ahead


Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson said the new pension reform measure is,  “the best option of some challenging options.”

Comprehensive universities like EKU have until next April to decide how they want to move forward.  But for now, the school contribution rate toward pensions will remain at 49%.  Benson said that’s what the university’s Board of Regents based its budget-making decisions on. “We kind of know what’s ahead of us, the certainty in our budget is very beneficial to us moving forward, at least for this current fiscal year.  But, we have some difficult decisions still ahead of us,” said Benson.

Benson noted that will include whether to pay a lump sum amount to exit the state retirement system or pay over time. 

“It would go into our kind of bonding capacity, if we decided to buy out of the system.  Are we able to issue our own bonds?" he said.  "Would the state help us?  Would they be our backstop as it were?  What exactly is the liability?  What is that number because that number tends to move?"

He said no adjustments to the current budget at EKU are anticipated, at least related to pension costs.  Benson said administrators are keeping tabs on fluctuating enrollment numbers.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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