Sad about the cuts to higher education in Kentucky?
There's a funeral for that.
On Monday morning, a group will hold a funeral at the state Capitol beginning at 9 a.m. According to a Facebook posting from SaveKYArts on Facebook, eulogies "will be read read at the Capitol in remembrance of higher education and to hopefully bring attention to its importance."
The group will also have a casket representing the Eastern Kentucky University Theatre program which will be carried through the city of Frankfort. The group is also asking that other groups concerned about cuts to a university program bring their own casket.
"It's with great sorrow and a heavy heart that we shall gather together to mourn the loss of higher education in Kentucky," the post read.
EKU's theatre and band programs have been cut as part of belt-tightening at the Richmond university. The EKU marching band will no longer be funded by the university. A group of students and faculty is now trying to raise funds to keep the marching band going.
EKU announced it would cut 153 jobs, close its Danville campus and end men's and women's tennis as a way to make up for a $25 million shortfall caused by increased pension costs, a drop in enrollment and a decline in state funding. Theater was one of the program's eliminated as part of that belt-tightening.
The compromise budget passed by the General Assembly included a 6.25 percent cut over the next two years for state universities But that cut would be somewhat offset by an increase of $31 million to the funding formula that now uses performance measures -- such as graduation rates - to determine how much money each public university gets.
Still, other universities have also had to cut positions and programs as state funding has been cut over the last decade. Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green announced in February it was cutting 140 positions and turning three regional campuses over to a distance learning unit in an effort to fill a $15 million shortfall. At the time of the February announcement, WKU University President Tim Caboni warned more cuts could be coming.
Morehead University officials announced in February it would save up to $1 million by cutting five upper-level administrators. It also announced it would offer buy outs to 25 employees. The regional universities have been harder hit because those universities are part of the state pension system.The University of Kentucky and University of Louisville have self-funded retirement systems.