Kentucky State University

FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – A bill directing Gov. Andy Beshear to name new members to the Kentucky State University of Regents won final passage in the General Assembly on Thursday, after the Senate agreed to changes made by the House.

Senate Bill 265, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem David Givens, R-Greensburg, requires the Governor’s Postsecondary Education Nominating Committee to forward 16 names to Gov. Beshear by March 26, from which he would name eight regents by April 1. This would give the Senate until April 14, the final day of the session, to confirm those nominated. 

The House made changes to the bill, including delaying the Governor’s deadline to April 4. It also includes a one-time exemption to the state law for the political affiliation and geographic requirements of appointees, to move the process forward.

The Senate unanimously agreed to the House changes, which sends it on to the Governor’s desk.

During his Thursday press conference, Beshear said, “We are already undertaking the efforts to make sure that we can meet the schedule, which is very aggressive. But the sponsor did work with us ahead of time on some different assistance that we would need or some changes that we would need, to do our best to meet that schedule.”

The bill is being considered as a companion measure to House Bill 250, which would provide a $23 million loan to the Frankfort school, so it could meet its obligations through the end of the current fiscal year on June 30.

HB 250 is before the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee but has not yet had a hearing, and Beshear says that funding should go through as well. “Making governance changes for the future of the university ought to come with providing the funding to help it survive.  Doing one without the other wouldn’t accomplish any goal because the university cannot survive without that $23 million loan.”

He added, “I support KSU.  We need to do what it takes to continue KSU and its mission. As one of only two historically black colleges and universities in Kentucky, it serves a critical role in this Commonwealth, and I am 100% supportive of the institution, but agree we have to get it on the right track.  We have to make certain changes and make sure that things which happened in the past don’t happen again.”

KSU announced last year that it faced a budget shortfall with unpaid bills and other debts, a ballooning payroll, and several years of poorly managed spending that outpaced revenue.

Beshear placed the university under state oversight after the sudden resignation of school president M. Christopher Brown, last summer.  The school is currently searching for a permanent president.

KSU is also looking for ways to cut about $7 million from its budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

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