As many of you know, the 2014 Legislative Session is in full swing. As part of our legislative agenda, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System proposed a plan to promote economic development and the quality of life for Kentucky citizens.
Included in the plan is the “KCTCS BuildSmart Investment for Kentucky Competitiveness,” which the governor presented in his January budget address. BuildSmart is a public-private partnership that will provide funding for the top capital project at each KCTCS college.
The proposed project for Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College, which has served the region since 1960, would include a $10 million project to construct an allied health facility on the Middlesboro campus. The project will be phase 1 of an anticipated larger project to construct an approximate 34,000 square foot Allied Health Facility at the Middlesboro campus. The project would allow programs to be moved from the one-building Pineville campus to the Middlesboro campus. Program space, including special laboratories, will be needed for nursing (ADN), respiratory care and radiography, all of which will be moved from Pineville. In addition, space will be provided for computer laboratories (tailored to meet the needs of Allied Health) and general purpose classrooms.
BuildSmart recently passed the Kentucky House of Representatives, but was drastically changed in the Senate March 24. The Kentucky Senate enacted their version of the state budget for 2014-16 that includes provisions for KCTCS. We, at KCTCS, are asking that the House version of BuildSmart be enacted. The Senate version included language that interfered with the general powers and authority of the KCTCS Board of Regents and created significant inequities between and among the 16 KCTCS colleges that would negatively impact their ability to construct and/or renovate facilities on their campus to meet the needs of their students and local business and industry.
In addition to BuildSmart, we are asking the General Assembly to restore the 2.5 percent budget cut. In the Senate version of the budget, KCTCS was singled out to receive a 2.5 percent budget cut while the eight public universities had the proposed 2.5 percent cut restored in their budgets. The proposed 2.5 percent cut to the KCTCS budget represents a $4.8 million reduction to the KCTCS operating budget.
It is important we convey KCTCS’ position on these issues in the state budget. I encourage you to communicate with the leadership of the House of Representatives: Greg Stumbo, speaker of the house; Larry Clark, speaker pro tempore; Rocky Adkins, majority floor leader and Sannie Overly, majority caucus chair. To learn how to become an advocate and to support KCTCS please go to buildsmartky.com.