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State budget provides funds for new Academic complex, inflationary budget increase


On Thursday, March 28, the Kentucky State House of Representatives adjourned for the ten-day veto period. Lawmakers remained in session until nearly midnight, working to pass a number of last-minute bills, including the next biennial state budget.

House Bill 6, the 2024-2026 Executive Branch Budget, includes funding allocations for Kentucky’s eight public universities, as well as the Kentucky Community and Technical College System and the Kentucky Center for Postsecondary Education.

In an email sent to university faculty and staff, Jennifer Breiwa Smith, WKU director of government and external relations, explained that WKU received from HB 6 a number of funding increases, one-time funds and other monies.

Most notable is $160,000,000 in bond funds to construct a new Academic Complex. WKU President Timothy Caboni stated at the start of the semester that the top capital priority for this budget session were these funds. The university also received a 4.5% inflationary increase to base appropriation for the budget’s first fiscal year.

Other increases in funding include a 3% and 6% increase in Gatton Academy funding in the first and second years of the budget, respectively. WKU will also receive over $28 million in asset preservation funds each year, which are funds for general maintenance and renovation on campus. Some of these asset preservation funds will be dedicated to the renovation of Cherry Hall.

Various other programs, such as the Kentucky Mesonet and LifeWorks at WKU, received continued funding.

The bill passed the House 72-26. HB 6 now awaits the signature of Gov. Andy Beshear.

Commentary Editor Price Wilborn can be reached at [email protected].

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