Todd against budget cuts in education

By Drew Teague

President Lee Todd opposed Kentucky Senate’s proposal to take $6.7 million out of the state budget that would go to UK, according to a press release on Thursday.

Todd said he feels the state needs to concentrate on the education of the young people in the state and put more into it, not less, as Sen. David Williams is proposing with his bill.

Gov. Steve Beshear and the House support a different proposal that does not include such cuts.

“Now is the time to be investing more in the education of our children and their futures, not less,” Todd said. “Investments in higher education, in particular, create jobs and economic growth now.”

According to a news release from Todd, the $6.7 million cut would be the same as raising student’s tuition by 3.5 percent or giving the staff a 2 percent increase in their salaries, since they have gone without an increase in their pay for three years.

Todd did note the recent economic recession and how putting money into education can ease it and better the Commonwealth.

“Kentucky – like virtually every state – is grappling with the effects of a tremendous national recession and I know that means tough decisions for our policymakers, who have tried very hard thus far to spare education,” Todd said. “But tough times are precisely when we need to be investing more in education at all levels.”

Todd is still fighting for the university on a state-wide and national scale, and trying to get Kentucky lawmakers to keep the money at the university.

“We’ve done our part, cutting millions of dollars internally to generate efficiencies and foregoing raises for three years,” Todd said. “But cutting education, in my judgment, is not the path to prosperity or even real savings. It would represent a step backward. We need to be moving forward as a state together.”

Todd said he urges lawmakers to work together on a solution.

The money that would be cut is already appropriated to UK for general operations, said Angela Martin, the vice president of financial operations and treasurer for UK, in an e-mail to the Kernel.

“Eliminating those dollars would force the university to cut programs and operations, which would impact the education, research and service we conduct,” she said.

Martin said she hopes both sides will work toward a compromise so funding for all areas of education is ensured.

“We will wait to assess the impact when an agreement is, we hope, reached by all the parties,” she said.