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Dr. Ramsey to U of L staff: Beshear’s cuts would equal $9 million, dramatic consequences for university

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It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall in any meetings between University of Louisville President Dr. James Ramsey and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear.

First, on January 6, Beshear kills the plan to merge University of Louisville Hospital with Catholic Health Initiatives, a plan Ramsey had pushed long and hard and at considerable expense in political capital.

Three days later, Beshear kills Ramsey’s amended proposal after CHI absorbs Jewish Hospital & St. Mary’s HealthCare into KentuckyOne Health.

Now, the governor and the state legislature intend to cut higher education funding by 6.4 percent in the looming 2012-2013 biennial budget, the most brutal education cuts in years.

Here’s Ramsey’s email to U of L personnel yesterday in which he says the budget cuts will have a “dramatic impact.”

Colleagues,

 The governor presented his proposed 2011-13 state budget to state lawmakers last night. A 6.4% cut to higher education has been proposed to help balance the state budget in these tough economic times. While we understand and appreciate the financial realities the state is facing and the tough decisions the governor and legislators must make, this will have a dramatic impact on the University of Louisville, our students and the future of Kentucky, if it is enacted.

 A 6.4% cut translates to $9 million less than UofL is receiving from the state this fiscal year. This is on top of 11 cuts over the last 11 years. The plan doesn’t include any money for Bucks for Brains or for a desperately needed classroom building – our top two priorities that have been approved by the Council on Postsecondary Education. While we’ve already instituted a hiring freeze in anticipation of cuts in state funding, we will be looking for other ways to balance our own budget.

 Please know how much we appreciate your hard work and dedication to the University of Louisville and its work. We’ve made incredible progress; you have made that progress happen. Our graduation rate is above 50% for the first time in history, we continue to recruit the best students in Kentucky and fundraising and research grants are at record levels. We have not used, nor will we use, a bad economy and the loss of state funding as an excuse.

 We look forward to working with the governor and state legislators to come up with a final state budget that will do the least amount of harm to the University of Louisville, Kentuckians and the education system that must lead our drive toward a better economy in the 21st century.

 Jim Ramsey

More on the budget:

“Beshear budget could survive largely intact” (The Courier-Journal)

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