Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Beshear Veto Clears Way for College Projects ; Allows for Blanket Fee to Expand Technical, Community Schools

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Beshear Veto Clears Way for College Projects ; Allows for Blanket Fee to Expand Technical, Community Schools

Article excerpt

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Gov. Steve Beshear said Friday that he vetoed language in the state budget bill that threatened to scale back an ambitious round of construction projects at community and technical college campuses in Kentucky. Beshear said his action would guarantee that capital projects move ahead at all 16 colleges in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

The Democratic governor used his line-item veto authority on other pieces of the $20.3 billion, two-year state budget passed recently by the General Assembly. Lawmakers can consider overriding Beshear's vetoes during their two-day wrap-up session that starts Monday.

Beshear praised lawmakers for other education-related parts of the state spending plan for the two years starting July 1.

He said the budget will raise per-pupil spending to its highest level ever, give teachers and other school employees pay raises and increase the number of 4-year-olds in preschool. It also provides additional funding for school technology, textbooks, school safety and bonding for school construction, he said.

But he objected to language he said would have limited the community and technical college system's ability to proceed with needed construction projects.

Beshear has said the expansion projects, backed by $145.5 million in agency bonds, represent the single-largest investment in the KCTCS system since its formation. The bonds would support one project at each of the system's colleges.

The two-year system has grown to about 100,000 students at its 16 regional colleges and 73 campuses, he said.

"In many ways, these campuses are factories that build Kentucky's workforce, and they are long overdue for expansions, upgrades and improvements to enhance the learning environment," Beshear said. "We have worked directly with KCTCS leaders to ensure that these projects are fiscally responsible and will directly benefit students. …

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