By Jack Brammer
FRANKFORT – Senate President Robert Stivers raised questions Tuesday about Gov. Steve Beshear’s budget proposal to use agency bonds to upgrade facilities on the 16 campuses of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
Beshear’s budget calls for issuing $145.5 million in agency bonds to KCTCS to provide infrastructure at each of its campuses.
The bonds will be supported by KCTCS revenue and student fees. The bonds will be used to fund up to 75 percent of the projects. At least 25 percent of the remaining cost will come from local communities and other public and private sources.
Students will have to pay an $8-a-credit-hour fee to help pay for the bonds. That might be $4-an-hour in the fall semester this year and be in addition to a tuition increase.
The presidents of the 16 KCTCS campuses said last month they are confident they can raise money from their communities and other public and private sources to help pay for the bonds.
But Stivers, R-Manchester, said the Senate will want to know what will happen if the campuses cannot raise the 25 percent match from the local level.
Told that the presidents have expressed confidence they can raise the money, Stivers said, “I don’t think you would expect them to say no.”
Stivers also said he is concerned that the student fee may be applied to students who never will get the opportunity to use one of the new buildings.
“Is that fair?” he asked.
Stivers said the Senate will give “a hard look” at the KCTCS proposal after the chamber receives the House budget plan in a few weeks. The House is now deciding what changes to make in the budget plan Beshear presented to lawmakers in January.
A conference committee made up of both chambers will try to iron out in the final days of this year’s legislative session the differences between the two chambers’ budget plans.
Filed Under: State Government