Millions on the line for EKU if pension reform isn't passed

RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents have approved the university's proposed operating budget for the upcoming year, but it comes with great uncertainty over the looming pension relief deadline.

Photo: WKYT

The July 1 deadline is when there will be significantly higher pension contribution rates for regional universities like EKU and quasi-governmental agencies. The rate will go from 49 percent to 84 percent next month.

"84 percent quite frankly is unsustainable and a number that is untenable for our institution," EKU Senior Vice President of Operations David McFaddin said.

The rate increase will cost EKU an estimated $22.8 million. If lawmakers are not called into a special session and nothing gets passed, that cost will become a reality.

The deadline comes as many of these organizations and universities get their budgets in place for the next fiscal year. EKU's budget is conservative and doesn't change much from last year's but there could be some changes if there isn't a resolution.

"There's no doubt as more resources are consumed by things like pension obligations that leaves fewer resources on the table for services to be delivered to students and to serve the Commonwealth," said McFaddin. "As we move through this budget, we will continue to monitor that and look for efficiencies. We would expect if there is no permanent resolution made we would have to adjust some of the things we do and how we operate."

University leaders are still sharing optimism over lawmakers passing pension relief. If nothing is passed, the EKU board will likely have to pass amendments to the budget.

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