Troubling math on UK tuition hike
The in-state undergraduate increase at the University of Kentucky would bring first-year tuition to $10,780. That is $43,120 for a four-year degree, not counting other expenses or tuition increases.
In 1971, annual tuition at UK was $330. Gasoline was about 33 cents a gallon, a Lamborghini Miura cost about $20,000, a regular car about $2,000, minimum wage was $1.60. A kid living at home could work summers and pay for college.
Using an inflation calculator, tuition should now cost $1,904.28 a year, gasoline $1.90, the exotic sports cars about $115,410, and that regular car $11,541.09, six times as much.
Tuition is set to be almost 33 times as much. What gives? This unfettered increase has been fueled largely with borrowed money, guaranteed by the government, and not dischargeable in bankruptcy.
The huge debts students are accruing to purchase "assets" that are far too overpriced to ever pay off will be our next major crisis.
No one seems willing to ask why even oil companies can operate comfortably with far lower prices than colleges and universities.
Just say no to KU
While Kentucky Utilities is seeking a rate increase of nearly 10 percent it had enough of our money last year to compensate its president with $6,668,859.
The president of the parent corporation, PPL, meanwhile, received $13,389,256. Both of these figures have been published by the corporation itself. Now, does this organization really need more?
But the proposal in the Public Service Commission's hands asks for even more. It asks to approve a scheme that would mean customers would pay for another power plant, then give it to the company, and then pay more for electricity than they do now. Does that seem "fair, just and reasonable" or even any one of these three attributes that Kentucky law requires?
Since KU was acquired by PPL, it has applied for several rate increases, and it has never been told "no." Isn't this the right time for the PSC to use that word?
David O. Woolverton
I want to commend the Kentucky High School Athletic Association on its excellent job with the boys' basketball tournament this year. The extraordinary leadership of Julian Tackett, KHSAA commissioner of athletics, and his entire staff was evident from the first tip-off through presentation of the winning trophy to Owensboro.
I have attended the tournament for about 40 consecutive years. I am amazed how it improves and seems more fan-friendly each year.
I always enjoy talking with people who are from another state who come to Kentucky in March for one reason — the Sweet Sixteen. They are always pleased with the tournament itself and how efficiently it is run.
I served on the KHSAA board from 1986 to 1990 and as president in 1990 under the leadership of commissioner Tom Mills, a man for whom I have always had great respect. Other commissioners followed, and they were excellent in their own right. Even though I might be a bit biased, I am supported each year by comments from guests from other states. They always say, "I wish our state tournament was as good as this one."
City offices to courthouse
As a former Lexingtonian and a historic-preservation professional, I am glad Mayor Jim Gray and some of the council agree long-deferred maintenance of the former courthouse must finally be addressed.
Some fear the proposed investment will simply repair a potential "white elephant" that will be underused, burden the city's maintenance budget and need subsidies to remain relevant, instead of becoming again the centerpiece of a thriving downtown.
I understand that future tax credits might be premised on some percentage of the building being income-producing. I believe that the current vision, however, is missing an important component: making the post-rehabilitation building relevant to Lexingtonians.
The mayor and others have mentioned wanting to try to find a new location for city offices. Lexington should follow the lead of Louisville: Move the mayor's office, council chambers and maybe even the clerk's office to parts of the newly renovated courthouse.
Even if these new uses endanger the application for tax credits, it would give the building relevance, which will keep it from falling back into familiar patterns of deferred maintenance.
If there is a rehabilitation fund, I will gladly contribute.