Bevin releases withheld funds to university

Story by Alicia Steele, Assistant News Editor

Last Thursday Murray State received the $960,500 that was previously withheld from last year’s fiscal budget, President Bob Davies and Jackie Dudley, vice president of Finance and Administrative Services, confirmed to The Murray State News.

Last week, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Wingate signed an order agreed upon by Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear that said Bevin had three days to release the funds withheld from public universities in Kentucky from the final quarter of the last fiscal year’s budget.

“The Attorney General Office’s diligence in taking the issue to the state’s highest court means that $960,500 has been returned to the campus of Murray State University,” Beshear said. “This was an issue worth my office’s time and energy because of its impact to students and their families. And it shows how I value education.”

Davies said the money is state appropriations and will go into a general fund where all state appropriations go.

“There are no specific areas that have had fees taken away from nor are there specific areas that they will go to,” Davies said.

In terms of all state appropriations, the funds are used to support student activities and student learning, including upgrading classrooms, improving technology, upgrading facilities and infrastructure needs.

“It goes to a lot of different sources,” Davies said.

He said it’s important to understand that the rescission of the funds from last fiscal year was a one-time action of the governor, which was handled separately from the ongoing budget reallocations.

Davies said Murray State also dealt with $1.1 million in pension increases, $1.3 million in salary increases, $300,000 in other costs including utilities and insurance and $1.3 million in changes in the federal overtime law regulation.

“Those were the big issues that we dealt with last year, and they are being implemented in the impact this year, that in total was around $9.1 million in total reallocation, cost increases, revenue distribution, etc.” Davies said. “That was the big issue.”

Davies said those things were why the discussions to close certain programs and eliminate 42 positions on campus were necessary, not because of the one-time action of cutting the $960,500.

Although the money has returned to Murray State, Davies said it has no effect on the tuition model.

“The one-time funding was not part of that calculation because it was one time and does not impact the overall tuition model.” Davies said. “It does not impact the ongoing operations of the institution.”