Kentucky’s public institutions of higher education have been directed by Gov. Matt Bevin to immediately reduce their current budgets by 1 percent.

For Morehead State University, that represents a decrease of state general fund support in the amount of $416,425.

“Unfortunately, all state universities received a budget reduction of current year appropriations,” says Dr. Jay Morgan, MSU president. “However, we were fortunate it was only 1 percent, as it could have been worse.”

Beth Patrick, MSU’s chief financial officer, said the institution has been holding cash reserves generated by unfilled faculty and staff positions in the event of a mid-year cut in state funding.

“MSU has been very conservative in our budgeting for the past six months and not hired many additional personnel. This has allowed us to prepare for the reduction,” says Morgan.

Higher education’s cut is part of $158 million in reductions allocated to the executive branch of state government.

The judicial branch is relinquishing $4,668,200 and the legislature is forfeiting $807,900.

The cuts resulted from a state revenue shortfall of $156 million in the current fiscal year as predicted last month by the Consensus Forecasting Group, a panel of economists who monitor the state’s income.

Morgan says looking forward, the increase of pension costs public institutions will be asked to take on is a more daunting figure.

“This academic year is not an issue. Next academic year is when the astronomical pension costs hit us,” he says.

Maysville Community and Technical College Rowan Campus also will be impacted by the mid-year budget cut.

According to Dr. Stephen Vacik, president of MCTC, the school will experience a reduction of around $70,000 in budgeted appropriations during the remainder of the current fiscal year.

MCTC has locations in Maysville, Rowan County, Cynthiana, and Mt. Sterling, each of which will be impacted by the $70,000 cut.

“The college has been very frugal in year-to-date spending, and will continue to do so, though we will continue to make meeting student and workforce needs our highest priority,” said Vacik.

He says there will not be any current positions eliminated due to this reduction in funding.

“This action, of course, will impact our college negatively but we realize that difficult decisions must be made in order to maintain essential services across the Commonwealth,” says Vacik.  “I appreciate Governor Bevin and our state legislators for recognizing the importance of education and allowing our contribution to be minimal as they work to balance the current state budget.”

Megan Smedley can be reached at msmedley@themoreheadnews.com or by telephone at 784-4116.

Keith Kappes can be reached at kkappes@themoreheadnews.com.

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