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Kentucky Universities to Work with Gov. Bevin on Creation of Performance-Based Funding Plan


Governor Matt Bevin wants to influence any performance-based funding model used by Kentucky universities.

The leaders of the state’s public schools and the Council on Postsecondary Education have been working for 18 months on a proposed formula for any new funding they receive.

But not only are universities not in line to receive new funding in the next state budget, they’re facing significant cuts.

Western Kentucky University Vice President of Public Affairs Robbin Taylor says Bevin has indicated he wants any such model to be based largely on how well schools help address workforce development needs.

Taylor says she thinks schools now have to re-evaluate what they’ve been working on.

"I don't want to say this negates all that, but it sort of puts all that on hold. As the Governor has indicated, he didn't think it went far enough, and he'd like to be a part of making those decisions, and has indicated his desire to work with the university presidents and the Council on Postsecondary Education to come up with those measures."

The governor wants one-third of state funding for universities starting in fiscal year 2018 to be based on performance measurements.

The performance-based funding model that Kentucky’s public university presidents and the CPE have been crafting takes into account measures such as degree productivity, how universities serve underrepresented populations, and the number of degrees awarded in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math.

University Leaders Facing Tough Decisions If Proposed Cuts Go Into Effect

Meanwhile, Kentucky’s universities are starting to digest the appropriation cuts proposed by Governor Bevin in his budget address Jan. 26.

He’s calling for a 4.5 percent reduction to schools’ appropriations in the current fiscal year.

That would amount to a nearly $3.3 million dollar loss for WKU by June 30.

In an email to school employees on Jan. 27, WKU President Gary Randell said it was too early to predict how the school would enact the cuts proposed by Bevin, should they become a reality. 

"There are many details of this plan that are yet to be understood, and with regard to performance funding, those details have yet to be defined," Ransdell said in his message. "So we are a long way from fully knowing how WKU will be impacted by these proposals.  I am confident, however, that WKU will fare well in any measure that is outcome or performance based.

Taylor says universities will be frank with the governor’s office about the impact such cuts would have on them.

"I think we certainly view this as a devastating blow to higher ed. We do not want to see our students further burdened, obviously."

Bevin’s budget would cut another nine-percent from university budgets in the fiscal year starting July 1.

Taylor says it’s “premature” to discuss how WKU might implement the budget cuts proposed by Bevin.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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