The3rd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue was held on Thursday, October 23, 2008, at 10:30 AM, in Building #4 at Bluegrass Station. Representative Harry Moberly Jr., Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Charlie Borders, Co-Chair; Representative Harry Moberly Jr., Co-Chair; Senators David E. Boswell, Tom Buford, Denise Harper Angel, Ernie Harris, Alice Forgy Kerr, Bob Leeper, R.J. Palmer II, Brandon Smith, and Johnny Ray Turner; Representatives Royce W. Adams, Scott W. Brinkman, Dwight D. Butler, Larry Clark, James R. Comer Jr., Mike Denham, Danny Ford, Derrick Graham, Keith Hall, Jimmie Lee, Lonnie Napier, Rick G. Nelson, Don Pasley, Charles Siler, Arnold Simpson, John Will Stacy, Tommy Turner, Robin L. Webb, and Brent Yonts.
Guests: Mayor Jim Newberry, Lexington; Mayor Ed Burtner, Winchester; Judge Henry Branham, Clark County; Major General Edward Tonini, Adjutant General, Kentucky National Guard; Dr. Lee Todd, University of Kentucky.
LRC Staff: Pam Thomas, Charlotte Quarles, Jennifer Hays, John Scott, Eric Kennedy, and Sheri Mahan.
Representative Pasley moved that the minutes from the previous meeting be approved as written. The motion was seconded by Representative Yonts. The motion carried by voice vote.
Mayor Jim Newberry of Lexington, Mayor Ed Burtner of Winchester, and Judge Executive Henry Branham of Clark County welcomed the committee to Bluegrass Station. Then Major General Edward Tonini, Adjutant General of the Kentucky National Guard, gave a presentation regarding Bluegrass Station. He discussed the historical background, tenants, and economic impact of the facility.
Dr. Lee Todd updated the committee on the University of Kentucky’s progress towards becoming a top 20 research institution by 2020. Dr. Todd briefly highlighted the importance of becoming a state with a top 20 university. He stated that the median household income of states with a top 20 institution is $12,000 per year higher than Kentucky’s average. Also, children living below the poverty line decreases 7.5% in those same top 20 states.
Dr. Todd discussed the re-calibration of the university’s business plan to include the number of masters degrees awarded, professional doctorates, and number of faculty publications. With this re-calibration, the University of Kentucky ranks #36 out of 92 public research universities. He also discussed various efficiency efforts being undertaken by the university, including changing the administrative structure, outsourcing office supply contracts, and removing phones from residence halls.
Next, Dr. Todd discussed the university’s undergraduate program. He discussed the importance of increasing ACT/SAT scores in the state. He stated that top 20 university scores average 1248, while the University of Kentucky’s average is 1096, and the statewide average is 990. The retention rate for undergraduates is 92% in the 20th ranked university and currently 81% for University of Kentucky. The student to faculty ratio at the university is two students higher than the 20th ranked institution, and the graduation rate is 16.1% less than the 20th ranked university.
Dr. Todd discussed the importance of increasing undergraduate enrollment and retention. He stated that the undergraduate enrollment at the university is 18,995, but the average enrollment for top 20 universities is 27,261. He also said that the university now awards 3,775 bachelor’s degrees, but undergraduate degrees awarded at top 20 institutions average 6,299. Dr. Todd also discussed the increases in undergraduate applications, and enrollment of African-American freshmen, Governor’s Scholars freshmen, and transfer students at the university.
Dr. Todd discussed the need to increase faculty at the university. He stated that the university now has 1,998 positions, down by 71 positions which were eliminated due to budget constraints. The average number of faculty for a top 20 university is 2,724. The elimination of those 71 faculty positions represented a loss of $10.6 million in external research funding for the university.
Next, Dr. Todd discussed funding for the university, stating that the current level of support from the state is $316,853,500. He then discussed the current year level for in-state undergraduate tuition, which is $7,736. He then provided examples of in-state undergraduate tuition for several institutions in the regions, with Pennsylvania State University being the highest at $13,706 and the University of Florida being the lowest at $3,777.
Finally, Dr. Todd discussed the level of state financial support the University of Kentucky needs to reach the goal of becoming a top 20 university. He stated that the university needs an increase of 5.8% between 2006 and 2012, and 3.5% thereafter to reach the top 20 goal.
Representative Moberly thanked the speakers and Bluegrass Station for hosting the committee. Being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:55 a.m. A tape of this meeting and all meeting materials is available in the Legislative Research Commission library.