WKU Hopes for Funds from Kentucky Budget

By: Daniel Kemp Email
By: Daniel Kemp Email

WKU will look to funding from lawmakers to help pay for a number of buildings on its campus.

With the state's projected $1.5-billion budget shortfall over the next two years, Kentucky legislators say cuts will have to be made to shore it up.

But university officials hope those cuts don't fall on them.

In 2008, the general assembly decided not to fund maintenance and operations costs for the first time, leaving the bill with universities.

Doing so again could mean higher tuition, and that's something officials at WKU say they don't want.

"The main things we're primarily looking for are maintenance and operating funds for new buildings and stimulus funds in the second year," said Robbin Taylor, WKU vice president for public affairs.

Those are funds WKU is hoping stay in the state budget.

"If we don't get that, that's just like another budget cut to us," she said.

Taylor says the school is seeking those funds to maintain and operate five buildings on campus, and if left out of a state budget, the school's budget cut could be a deep one.

"If you take the maintenance and operations funds and the stimulus funds away, that's nearing a $9-million budget reduction for us, which in terms of total state appropriations we're talking about 10-percent, so that's drastic," Taylor said.

"It's going to be a balancing act and I'm not sure where it's going to shake out," said Rep. Jody Richards, of Bowling Green.

Richards says while it's likely maintenance and operating funds will be left in the budget, he doubts any money will be available for construction projects.

"The problem is the budgets tight, there won't be a lot of money for anything," he said. "There are going to be some cuts."

That would hurt WKU's $29-million project to complete a renovation of the school's Thompson Complex.

But Taylor says the university won't have something to work off of until that state budget is drafted.

"At this point it's just hard to know," Taylor said.

Representative Richards says that budget could be drafted by the House within the next couple of weeks, where it would then head to the Senate.

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