Tuesday, January 25, 2000

$186M more for higher ed

Ky. governor announces budget

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FRANKFORT — The 2000 General Assembly will be “the crucial session for postsecondary education,” Gov. Paul Patton said Monday as he announced $186 million in new funding for higher education.

        The $186 million is 19 percent more money for higher education than is in the current state budget.

        Included in the budget the governor will present to the legislature today is $22.2 million in extra money and projects for Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights and $10 million for a new community-technical college in Northern Kentucky.

        “The time has come for us as a people to decide, Is this really what we want? Are we willing to stand up for the future and do what intelligent people know needs to be done if we are going to be a player?” Mr. Patton said.

        “Either we do it this way or we say we are going to be a third-rate state for the next century.”

        Mr. Patton presented his proposed $2.3 billion education budget for 2000-2002 to the state's university presidents and the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) during the council's regular meeting.

        That budget includes significant money for NKU and the region:

        • A 10 percent increase, or $7.2 million, in benchmark funding for NKU.

        • $12 million to replace a 28-year-old power plant on campus.

        • $1 million to plan and design the renovation of NKU's old science building. (A new $38 million science center, which the legislature funded two years ago, is under construction.)

        • $1.3 million in debt service to finance bonds.

        • $700,000 to lease space for a regional worker training center called METS or the Metropolitan Education and Training Services Center.

        • $10 million for new facilities to create a community-technical college, governed by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

        • $1 million in debt service for the new facility.

        NKU President James Votruba said this session will be the most important for the college since its creation because the increase in benchmark funding can be renewed by the legislature every two years.

        “Our concern is that NKU is the least public of Kentucky's public universities,” Dr. Votruba said. “We will depend on our legislative caucus, and their leadership will be critical.”

        With a budget of $80 million, NKU has traditionally been underfunded by the state. The college receives 55 percent of its money from tuition and fees; other Kentucky colleges average 38 percent from those sources. The proposed 10 percent increase is above the 2.4 percent increase most other colleges will receive.


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