Trustees fill gap from state budget cuts

By Austin Schmitt

To fill a gap created by cuts to UK’s budget by the Kentucky Legislature, the Board of Trustees voted to decrease the university’s budget by $5.2 million.

Gov. Steve Beshear’s “cutback order” last month reduced UK’s state funding by $6.3 million.

With tuition revenue coming in over budget by $970,800, UK used some of that money to fill the gap. The majority of the rest of the gap was filled by using funds in the General University Reserve — about $3 million.

“The cut came so late that we looked to absorb that cut with the least impact on colleges and departments,” said Angie Martin, vice president for Planning, Budget and Policy.

Martin said she expects another 2 to 4 percent cut in state appropriations for the 2009-10 fiscal year, but isn’t sure when that cut will occur. It is still possible for Beshear to call a special session of the Kentucky Legislature to deal with budget concerns, Martin said.

If budget cuts for the 2009-10 fiscal year occur this year, Martin isn’t optimistic they will happen before the trustees approve the 2009-10 budget in June.

“I seriously doubt that I will learn (about possible cuts) by then,” Martin said.

The trustees also remembered fellow member Russ Williams, who passed away on April 8. JoEtta Wickliffe proposed a resolution to include the passing of Williams as a part of the minutes for the meeting.

The resolution named Williams’ numerous accomplishments to UK and called him a “vibrant member of the campus community.”

After the passing of the resolution, a moment of silence ensued remembering Williams.

Out of respect for Williams, no plan to fill his position will be available until after his memorial service on Friday, said Bart Miller, president of the Faculty Senate.

President Lee Todd presented an overview of his presidency thus far in his “seven-year review report” at the meeting. The report detailed objectives pertaining to the top-20 mandate, applications and enrollment, research and student diversity.

Highlights from his report include:

  • An increase of Governor’s Scholars enrolled at UK from 125 in 2001 to 389 in 2008.
  • A record of 11,120 applications so far this year for the Fall 2009 freshman class
  • A record high graduation rate of 64.4 percent in from last year’s graduating class
  • A retention rate of 80 percent this past year, also a record.
  • The trustees also approved the hiring of David A. Brennen as the new dean of the College of Law.