This story was originally published April 5.
As Murray State University anticipates a finalized Kentucky state budget and possible cuts therein, MSU President speaks with Todd Hatton on Sounds Good about how the university is already tightening its belt.
Davies says he was surprised by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s recent order to cut university budgets by 4.5 percent. The move is part of Bevin’s plan to fix the state’s pension system and comes as the Kentucky legislature has reached an impasse in biennial budget talks over the higher education funding cuts.
MSU officials are now working to address the immediate $2.1 million dollar hit to the university's budget. Those cuts are comparatively large; the university receives state appropriations quarterly, with more funding during the first half of the fiscal year.
“What we have planned for is to do it in a manner that is as least harmful and least obtrusive as possible,” Davies said. “But at the same time, these are real dollars and they will have an impact.”
Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says Bevin’s order is illegal and has threatened legal action if it’s not rescinded by the end of this week.
Davies says for now, the university is making its case to lawmakers on the merits of higher education. He says if these funding cuts pass, it’s important to focus on refining services as a whole to meet standards rather than target specific programs.
“We’ve got such a powerful community (…) that we will find a way to deal with this,” Davies said. “We will focus in on, ‘How do we continue to deliver exceptional work despite the fiscal realities?’ Will it be the same exemplary work? Absolutely.”