New leaders take over at Kentucky State University

FRANKFORT, Ky. — It’s not perfect, but new officials at Kentucky State University say it’s on the right track.

What do you want to know

  • Kentucky State University was at risk of closing before lawmakers stepped in with a $23 million loan during this year’s session
  • The loan included other measures, including spending limits and a review of university programs
  • KSU’s board of directors was axed and replaced before the end of session this year, and the new board chose an interim chairman last week

“I see there is a clear path for Kentucky State University,” said Kentucky State University interim president Ronald Johnson. “The question is whether we can cut through the brush to get to this path.”

Johnson was chosen by the KSU board of trustees to lead the university last week, and on Wednesday he briefed lawmakers in Frankfurt on how they are doing.

KSU nearly ran out of money last school year until the general assembly approved a $23 million loan. Lawmakers added numerous requirements to the loan, including a review of every university program and department, and certain spending limits.

The Council on Post-Secondary Education is responsible for expenditures.

“Over the past few months, I will say this without fear, we have worked hard with KSU,” Council on Post-Secondary Education Chairman Aaron Thompson said. “It was not an easy task: arduous at times; hard sometimes. »

Kentucky State Auditor Mike Harmon’s office is conducting an audit of the university’s finances, but Sara Beth Gregory, his chief of staff, said they hadn’t had enough time to get what they needed.

She said the full audit will hopefully be completed by the end of next year.

“Earlier would be great, but we also realize it’s a pretty big undertaking,” she said. “And that may take a while.”

And on top of that, KSU Vice President Gerald Shields said he’s lost several people in his finance and accounting department, making a lot of change difficult.

“These staff reductions call into question the ability of the remaining staff to support the university and the accountability and accuracy of services, while trying to fill these vacancies,” he told lawmakers.

But Shields also said KSU can follow anything, it just needs everyone on campus to buy-in.

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