Latest Budget Agreement Puts Money Back into WKU's Budget

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Like Monday's temperatures, this state budget is a lot different from what was in January.

Governor Steve Beshear, D-Kentucky proposed his budget in the middle of January, and it wasn't the best news for WKU.

It proposed a 2.5% cut to higher education as a way to help fund K-12 education.

"The initial cut in the Governor's budget took us by surprise, state revenues had been improving. We didn't see that one coming, none of the campuses did," said WKU President Dr. Gary Ransdell.

Flash forward two months, the budget is much different.

After a marathon session by House and Senate Leadership this weekend, a deal was reached early yesterday morning. It reduces WKU's cut to 1.5%.

"It reduces our cut by about $750,000. That would mean our final cut would be $1.08 million, which is still a lot of money and still a challenge, but it's better than $1.8 million which is what it was before," said Ransdell.

Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg is the Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee and is glad to be putting some money back into school's budgets.

"We were pleased to be able to restore 1% of that 2.5% cut that higher education took, and that restoration was for all 8 of our comprehensive research institutions, as well as KCTCS," said Givens.

Now comes the decision of what to do to offset the cuts in WKU's budget.

Ransdell said the university will still privatize the health clinic, but isn't sure what effect it will have on students and employees.

"We still need to know what will happen in regard to a tuition increase, then what final decisions we'll make regarding compensations and benefits. Those are the two yet to be determined variables in the (WKU) budget," said Ransdell.

Ransdell said in the past if there is a tuition raise, it would be a modest increase.

WKU also got more good news regarding the state budget.

Lawmakers left in $48 million for the Thompson Science Complex and money for an expansion of the Gatton Academy.

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