University Presidents Voice Concerns on Higher Ed Funding in Frankfort

Feb 18, 2016

Murray State president Bob Davies (left) speaks in Frankfort
Credit Kentucky House Democrats, via Twitter

Several presidents of Kentucky colleges and universities testified Thursday in Frankfort at a hearing aimed at getting their input on Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed cuts to higher education funding.

Murray State  University president Bob Davies, University of Louisville president James Ramsey and Kentucky Community and Technical College System president Jay Box were among those at the meeting who spoke out against the governor’s budget. The hearing was organized by state Rep. Arnold Simpson, co-chair of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education.

Box told lawmakers KCTCS would have to fire more than 500 employees or increase tuition nearly 9 percent in response to the 4.5 percent reduction in funding for this remaining fiscal year and 9 percent cut in following years.

Rep. Gerald Watkins
Credit Kentucky House Democrats, via Twitter

State Rep. Gerald Watkins of Paducah attended the hearing. Watkins, a Democrat, said the cuts are drastic and would devastate higher education in the commonwealth.

“Everyone I’ve heard from in the House, even some Republicans, we’re going to have to make some adjustments in the budget from the governor’s proposal on higher education," Watkins said. "It’s just not acceptable to me.”

“If we’re going to train and educate Kentuckians for the workforce, give them the tools to be able to support themselves and their families and grow our economy and create jobs, this is not the way to go," Watkins said.

Meanwhile, Watkins said he plans to attend the student organized March for Education next Thursday, February 25 at the Capitol. Students from Murray State, Kentucky State University and other schools have coordinated for that event.