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Hopes for public university in Appalachia fading

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A proposal to create a public university in central Appalachia appears to be in trouble in the Kentucky legislature.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo conceded Thursday that he doesn't think lawmakers will accept a proposal to use millions of dollars from a tax on coal mined in the region to turn the private University of Pikeville into a public school.

What started as a seemingly unlikely proposal had gathered momentum early in the legislative session. But that momentum waned in recent weeks, largely because local officials and leaders of existing public universities objected.

Former Gov. Paul Patton, now president of the University of Pikeville, said a compromise is being drafted that would allow a portion of the coal tax revenue to be appropriated for college scholarships for eligible mountain students.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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