A group of business leaders representing Kentucky’s community colleges have started a campaign aimed at securing more funding for postsecondary education in the upcoming biennial budget.
Hopkinsville Mayor Carter Hendricks is a co-chair of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System’s Business Champions group, who are driving the Fuel the Force initiative. Hendricks says they’re asking Gov. Matt Bevin and the General Assembly to fully fund postsecondary education based on requests of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and KCTCS. That amounts to $64.6 million for 2016-17 and $122.6 million for 2017-18.
“This idea of ‘fueling the force’ is driven because community and technical colleges are providing the most high-risk and needed students the opportunity to achieve higher education when many times it’s out of their reach," Hendricks said.
Hendricks is representing Hopkinsville Community College in the group. Hendricks, a former instructor at HCC, said the school is the 11th largest college in the 16-school KCTCS , but dead last in funding.
“More importantly, Hopkinsville Community College is number 2 per capita in degrees produced, and so, even though it’s 11th largest, by argument’s sake, it’s the second most efficient by producing per capita the second most degrees," Hendricks said.
KCTCS has lost $38 million - cumulatively $173 million - in state funding since 2008.
Bevin's budget request is due January 26. Fuel the Force leaders will stage a rally at the Capitol rotunda on February 18.