House bill

House Bill seeks $23 million for the state of Kentucky

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A key House committee on Tuesday advanced a measure calling for an immediate injection of $23 million into Kentucky State University to shore up the struggling school’s finances.

What do you want to know

  • House Bill 250 asks for $23 million to go immediately to Kentucky State University
  • The bill was passed in committee on Tuesday
  • Lawmakers stress importance of Frankfurt School, but say there must be accountability
  • In 2021 the school said that without help it would not be able to function after April 2022

House Bill 250 cleared the House Appropriations and Revenues Committee as several lawmakers spoke about the importance of the Frankfurt-based school while expressing frustration with its precarious finances.

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 proposal involving the historically black college then goes to the Full House.

Tipton said the legislature should step up appropriations for the sake of current and future KSU students, but stressed that the bill includes levels of accountability for the school.

“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.

KSU is to work with the Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education on a plan to improve its financial position over the next three years.

“We’re talking about making ourselves solvent this year, but we’re going to have to figure out, even in our cuts, how we strategically invest in those things that we need to keep going,” said Aaron Thompson, board chairman. of post-secondary education.

So what did the executives of Kentucky State University do to dig themselves a $23 million hole? This is a question that many legislators want answered.

“Somehow something didn’t happen to nearly the degree of malfeasance, if not clear,” Rep. Jason Petrie (R-Elkton) said. “Or something happened almost to the degree – or maybe not – criminal.”

But most lawmakers agree on one thing.

“KSU is an institution within this Commonwealth that we cannot allow to fail,” Rep. John Blanton (R-Salyersville) said.

House Bill 250 passed the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee with a single negative vote and is now moving to the floor.

KSU is the only historically black public university in the state.