[Audio] Davies: Murray State 'At Tipping Point' Over Lack of Funding

May 5, 2016

Credit Dr. Bob Davies, Murray State University

Murray State University president Bob Davies is further illuminating proposed cutbacks. The school is faced with after a 4.5 percent state funding cut over the next two years that was approved by the Kentucky General Assembly.

Davies talks budget woes, university business and more on Sounds Good with Todd Hatton.

For now, the president says MSU’s challenges are clear cut. The university will face a $2.1 million loss in appropriations for the next fiscal year. Pension contributions will jump by $1.1 million at the same time. Davies says enrollment decline has become a concern as well over the last couple years.

Overall, university officials face a nearly $9.1 million budget imbalance, which comes out to about seven percent of MSU’s entire operating budget.

As such, the university has enacted multiple contingencies, including a pair of task forces designed to identify programs that could be scaled back or dropped entirely. Davies says bolstering core strengths remain a priority. Tuition increases are also planned, but specifics haven’t been set in stone yet.

The response could also include the elimination of 50 full-time equivalent staff positions.

“Out of those 50 FTEs, 20 of those are with individuals in the position right now," Davies said. "So, roughly, I'm using approximations, 30 of those positions are vacant positions."

The potential job cuts are on the table with a tuition increase of up to 5 percent. Davies says the lack of investment from the state government has forced MSU officials’ hands.

“We’re at that tipping point where we’re not keeping up with our own inflationary costs," Davies said. "We’re not keeping up with the various things that either state or federal governments are passing down to their universities that we need to continue to pay for.”

The MSU Board of Regents will hold a special meeting on Friday, May 13 to approve new tuition rates. A school budget for the next fiscal year is due May 16, which will then have to be approved at the Board of Regents' next regular meeting on June 10.