Bevin orders immediate cuts to university funding - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bevin orders immediate cuts to university funding

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Gov. Matt Bevin ordered immediate 4.5 percent cuts to Kentucky’s universities on Thursday, citing his authority to do so under state law.

The move comes amid a budget stalemate between the Democratic House and the Republican Senate that centers on higher education funding. Bevin had recommended the reductions for the current fiscal year and 9 percent cuts over the biennium in his budget proposal; the House plan restored the funding, while the Senate version kept the university cuts.

In a statement Friday, Bevin reiterated his position that badly underfunded public employee pension systems are the state's most immediate need.

“Our pension system is on the brink of insolvency. We have more than $35 billion in pension obligations," Bevin said. “It takes leadership from all stewards of taxpayer dollars to keep our commitments to our teachers and state workers. I appreciate our university presidents who recognize the magnitude of this challenge and are willing to participate and contribute to the solution. Once we get our fiscal house in order, Kentucky will be in a much stronger position to make additional investments in higher education.”

In a letter dated March 31, Bevin told state budget director John Chilton and Finance Secretary William Landrum to make the reductions to the fiscal 2016 executive branch budget “before close of business today.”

The University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky are among the nine schools affected by the cuts. 

In a statement issued Friday, the University of Louisville said it would respond to the immediate 4.5 percent cut "as we have responded to the 14 budget cuts over the past decade, by working with our faculty and staff to pursue plans that minimize the burden on our students."

"Our employees are disappointed with this news, but we will work to galvanize support for developing new fund sources that assure our faculty, students and staff have the resources to achieve our strategic goals.”

Here is the letter in which Bevin ordered the cuts:

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