House bill

House Bill Gets Green Light Approving $23 Million for Kentucky State

Representative James Tipton, the bill’s lead sponsor, said that without the additional aid, the school “won’t be financially solvent” by the end of March.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky State University would receive an immediate injection of $23 million from the state, under a bill advanced Tuesday, as lawmakers voiced support for the school struggling while expressing frustration with his precarious finances.

The measure cleared the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee with bipartisan support, running for the full House. It still needs to be approved by the Senate.

Republican Rep. James Tipton, the bill’s lead sponsor, said without the extra help, the school “won’t be financially solvent” by the end of March.

The credit would be set up as a loan that could be canceled by the legislature, he said.

Tipton said the legislature should step up ownership for the sake of current and future students at the historically black college. But he pointed out that the bill includes layers of responsibility to oversee efforts to restore the school’s financial stability.

“Without that, there’s going to be huge uncertainty, there’s going to be huge disruption, there’s going to be huge chaos,” Tipton told the committee.

“If at any point we find that progress has not been made, this legislation has put a plan in place whereby we may consider other options at a later time,” he added.

Aaron Thompson, chair of the Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education, said KSU’s financial oversight will dive into the “microscopic level” to track stimulus efforts.

In supporting the bill, Republican Representative John Blanton said, “The KSU is an institution within this Commonwealth that we cannot allow to fail.” He expressed confidence in the oversight provisions of the bill as a plan to improve the management of KSU is implemented.

Under the bill, KSU leaders would provide periodic updates to lawmakers in future years on progress toward achieving this improvement plan. And by the end of 2025, the Council on Post-Secondary Education would provide lawmakers with a three-year performance analysis of KSU.

How the university dug itself into such a deep hole was on the minds of lawmakers.

Republican Rep. Jason Petrie, chairman of the committee, said he wondered “how on earth” the school could have amassed a $23 million shortfall.

“Yes, we don’t want to dwell on the past, but we don’t want to repeat those mistakes,” he said.

Thompson said the Frankfurt-based school had made “legitimate” investments to benefit students, but said money had been spent “unnecessarily”.

“There was unnecessary spending at a level over a two-and-a-half-year period that neither you nor I would have spent on our bank account,” he told the committee.

KSU announced last summer that it was facing a budget shortfall with a pile of unpaid bills and other debts, a soaring payroll and several years of mismanaged expenses that exceeded revenue. Governor Andy Beshear placed the university under state trusteeship following the sudden resignation of the school’s president last summer. The school is looking for a permanent president.

While the focus was on KSU’s issues, Thompson said there’s “a lot going on with the institution,” including increasing student retention and graduation rates, and community service. by the students. There is an opportunity, by strengthening KSU, to improve its contributions to the state, he said.

Make it easier to update with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple Where android users.

Do you have a topical tip? E-mail [email protected]visit our Facebook page Where Twitter feed.