Students and Colleagues:
We need your help, and it will only take a few minutes of your time to make a lasting impact on our university.
On January 16, Governor Matt Bevin will deliver his budget address to the state and will unveil his version of the two-year spending plan for the Commonwealth. Because of many factors, but especially because of the state’s pension crisis that also has a drastic negative effect on NKU, it is expected that the budget proposal will recommend funding reductions for higher education.
Two years ago, the state finally recognized NKU was underfunded compared to our peer institutions and appropriated half of the acknowledged disparity amount: $5.1 million. This funding has allowed us to do things that would have been otherwise impossible, like keeping tuition affordable, investing in faculty and staff, and making long-awaited maintenance improvements on our campus.
However, we need to remind our elected officials that only half of the disparity was remedied in 2016, and in this upcoming budget we need the other $5.1 million to put us on a level playing field.
We recognize the tough decisions Governor Bevin and our legislators must make due to the pension crisis, as we are greatly impacted ourselves. Just over the past eight years, our payment to the state pension system has increased from $2.6 million to $18.3 million, and, without significant pension reform, our payment to the state pension system will increase to $31 million next fiscal year. This will consume 60% of the dollars Frankfort appropriates for us.
Because of these challenges facing the Commonwealth and NKU, we recognize the importance and urgency of meaningful pension reform to establish a new, sustainable pension system that is financially feasible for the Commonwealth and our university. We’ll continue to work with our elected officials to identify an adequate outcome.
For now, we must keep the pressure on to fund the other half of the disparity. And you can make a difference in about two minutes by clicking here: Invest in Success.
By visiting this site, you can enter your name and address and be linked immediately to your legislators. You’ll have the option to use a message we’ve created or create your own. Hit submit and your message will be delivered directly to your legislators. Additionally, you’ll have the option to post a message on the elected official’s Facebook and Twitter pages, or call their Capitol office.
Over the past two years, we’ve had over 7,000 messages sent to Frankfort by nearly 1,500 individuals. These messages make a difference. I ask for your support.
Gerard A. St. Amand
Northern Kentucky University
800 Lucas Administrative Center
Highland Heights, KY 41099