On Saturday night, the Kentucky legislature concluded the 2018 General Assembly session. Before outlining the latest impact for NKU, I want to thank you for lending your voices to our advocacy efforts.
During this session, 1108 individuals sent 4818 messages to Frankfort on behalf of NKU using our online advocacy tool, reaching 68 of 100 State Representatives and 32 of 38 State Senators. Those are incredible statistics that are certain to have contributed to some favorable outcomes for NKU.
Now, for the latest from the session:
o 6.25% reduction in our state appropriation (approximately $3.2 million)
o $31 million state-wide appropriation to the Performance Fund for higher education, of which NKU should receive at least $5.1 million
o Total impact: NKU should gain approximately $2 million in our state appropriation (at least $5.1 million from the Performance Fund minus $3.2 million budget reduction)
o In the final hours of the legislative session late Saturday, the General Assembly passed a bill repealing language in HB362 that would have allowed institutions like NKU under certain conditions to opt out of the Kentucky Employee Retirement System (KERS). On Friday, the General Assembly had overridden the Governor’s veto of HB362, but subsequent discussions between the legislature and the Governor led to this change on Saturday.
o In a companion bill also passed by the General Assembly late Saturday, language was included that would freeze our KERS contribution rates at the current levels for one year.
o This legislation also tasked KERS with working this coming year on financially feasible options for institutions like ours to deal with the escalating costs that we pay directly into the pension system.
o These two bills now await action by the Governor, expected within the next week.
Once the Governor acts on these bills and other pertinent legislation to complete this legislative session, we will provide you with a final update on the session. In the meantime, we continue to plan our institutional budget with a few other unknowns to consider, such as fixed costs (e.g., utilities), the CPE tuition cap and potential tuition rate adjustments, and the critical need for investment in some of our programs and to address safety and compliance requirements.
As I’ve stated before, I recognize that there continues to be uncertainty and anxiety across the campus about what this all means to each of you. We will continue to assess and evaluate our options, and our decisions will be made with the best interests of our people and our institution in mind.
We have tentatively scheduled our annual budget address to the campus for May 3. At that time, we expect to have more details to share with you. I thank you again for your advocacy as well as your continued patience, dedication and focus on our students.
Gerard A. St. Amand
Northern Kentucky University
800 Lucas Administrative Center
Highland Heights, KY 41099