In a letter sent July 28 to Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education President Robert King, House Democratic Leader Rocky Adkins blasted the performance-based funding formula that awards nothing from a $31 million pool to Morehead State University, Kentucky State University and several coal-county-based KCTCS schools this coming school year.
“This funding approach is fatally flawed, as I argued when it was enacted in last year’s legislative session and again this year when it was included in the upcoming two-year budget,” Leader Adkins said.
“I predicted schools like Morehead State and Kentucky State would get nothing from this pool, and that’s exactly what they will be getting, according to a letter President King sent to State Budget Director John Chilton this week. That policy decision is as morally wrong as it is fiscally irresponsible. The very schools that are doing a phenomenal job of meeting some of Kentucky’s most challenging and critical needs are effectively being told their mission is no longer as important. Is that the message we want to tell the students who depend on these schools?” added Adkins.
The performance-based funding pool consists of a portion of the base budgets of Kentucky’s eight public postsecondary universities and the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. While a hold-harmless protection in the 2017 law will keep schools from losing base funding solely because of the formula this coming school year, the exemption will be phased out in future years.
In addition to Morehead State University and Kentucky State University receiving nothing from the $31 million pool, others include KCTCS schools in the following coal-producing communities: Ashland, Prestonsburg, Hazard, Henderson, Madisonville and Cumberland.
Leader Adkins said no other state has taken Kentucky’s approach of tying performance incentives to the base budgets of their postsecondary schools; rather, those incentives are applied only to funding increases.
“If we’re going to have our public colleges and universities compete for what I think they rightfully deserve, then at the very least they should just be competing against themselves, because they all have different missions and face challenges beyond their control,” he said. “Let’s not forget that postsecondary education is already facing a statewide 6.25 percent budget cut this coming year. We cannot and should not take even more away from them when they need every penny they have to meet the needs of the students and the regions they serve.”
(provided by Office of House Democratic Caucus)