In a committee meeting on Thursday, Kentucky Community and Technical College System President Jay Box warned of tuition hikes of more than 8 percent if Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed budget cuts hold.
Without higher tuitions to compensate for the lower state appropriation, Box said he may be forced to lay off 500 employees and end dozens of instructional programs.
Then at the Fuel the Force rally for community college funding in the Capitol Rotunda, Box struck a different tone. He acknowledged the state’s difficult financial position even as he petitioned the governor for greater KCTCS support.
The difficulty of Box’s position was not lost on Bevin. The governor said he has a vision for the state that relies heavily on KCTCS and other institutions of higher education, but said his priority is a fiscally responsible budget for the commonwealth.
Hopkinsville Mayor Carter Hendricks is an alumnus of Hopkinsville Community College and credits a large part of his success to KCTCS. At Thursday’s rally he said the state’s community colleges give countless Kentuckians access to higher education. Carter said institutions like KCTCS are the backbone of Kentucky.
Before he left the rally, Gov. Bevin signed a proclamation to make Feb. 18 Kentucky Community and Technical College System Day in the commonwealth.
Follow @ReneeKET on Twitter for updates throughout the day, and for a recap of the full day’s activities, watch Legislative Update, weeknights at 11 on KET. You can also follow the Kentucky General Assembly on KET’s Legislative Coverage app for your smartphone or tablet.