Kentucky's public universities brace for cuts and performance-based funding

01/16/2012 04:46 PM

The eight public universities and community college system will have to show they can meet graduation and retention goals in order to get some of their state funding. But that level of state support is likely to backslide again to 2000-2001 levels in the wake of coming cuts, said Robert King, president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.

Gov. Steve Beshear has warned agencies to prepare for cuts as high as 7-9 percent in the next two-year budget cycle.

“I don’t think that the universities will be exempt from being cut from what we’ve learned. I don’t think, however, the cuts will be quite at that level. I hope they won’t,” King said on Thursday’s edition of Pure Politics. (0:40).

Some of the university funding, for the first time in this next budget, will be contingent on the university meeting certain goals

“I don’t want to say they can’t, but it sure makes the challenge that much harder,” he said of the universities’ ability to continue to improve meeting goals (6:00).

King said the presidents of the universities — particularly the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky — not only run the academic parts of the university but also oversee hospitals and research efforts.

“I don’t begrudge the salaries, and I think that our leaders have been very sensitive to trying not to get beyond a reasonable level of compensation,” he said.

View 7:00 of the interview for that part of the discussion:

One of the effects of budget cuts over the next two years, King said, is a potential reversal of progress with helping prepare Kentucky children for college. Colleges and universities have been helping train teachers and working with the Kentucky Department of Education on standards and curriculum for K-12, as required through Senate Bill 1 that passed in 2009.

“The biggest concern, I think, that I have is that we have made remarkable progress in the last two years in implementing Senate Bill 1,” King said (2:00).

And a cut in resources could undermine the universities’ efforts to continue training teachers and working with schools to improve Kentucky students’ preparation for college, he said.


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