By Kyeland Jackson —

To Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter’s chagrin, U of L’s new budget brings a bigger price tag to students.

U of L’s Board of Trustees reviewed the budget Thursday. The draft promises a flat tuition rate, but compensates those lost funds, partially, with increases to parking rates and a three percent increase to housing rates. Parking costs will increase for:

  • Red passes: $590 –> $620
  • Magenta, White & Jewish Hospital: $379 –> $399
  • Blue: $281 –> $296
  • Yellow, Orange, Minardi & Brown: $150 –> $169
  • Green: $132 –> $149
  • Purple: $98 –> $100

Those parking rates could generate $157,400 if approved.

Schnatter, a trustee on the board, cried foul and said U of L’s enrollment troubles could be solved with flat tuition and parking rates. Board of trustees Chair David Grissom agreed.

“We shouldnt put this on the shoulders of the students,” Grissom said, asking the university be more efficient before raising tuition. Outgoing Student Government Association President Aaron Vance echoed Grissom, citing tuition rates as a reason he picked another school’s graduate program.

The university also plans to invest $9 million in strategic initiatives, which include growing student enrollment and funding more financial aid. Enrollment growth is expected to bring a lot of money, with the university aiming to enroll 8,000 more students regularly within years.

And where there aren’t rate increases, this budget finds cuts.

The budget’s total $1.23 billion is nearly $41 million less than last year. Though Susan Howarth, U of L’s interim chief financial officer, said the budget is smaller partly because clinical funds will shift toward the U of L Research Foundation.

The new budget also slashes salaries and wages by nearly $18 million, simultaneously raising the debt service budget, used to pay school dues, by $5.3 million. That lower salaries budget will help drive the continued hiring frost, implemented after Interim President Greg Postel announced the $48 million deficit this year.

The board will vote whether to approve the budget in its June 8 meeting.

Progress in disconnect between U of L and its hospital

Postel was O.K.’d to continue researching whether U of L should divorce its health sciences school.

Postel gained board approval in a Thursday’s board of trustees meeting, announcing he would work with the university’s consultants and law firm in researching a possible split. The inquiry alone could cost upwards of $500,000, but Postel said the university wants to be serious in its research.

So far, plans for the divorce between U of L and its hospital would split the two as businesses; but the health sciences campus would remain a close university affiliate. Postel said a separation would free the health sciences campus to quickly adapt to changes, citing KentuckyOne Health’s struggles as an example.

In a WDRB interview, Postel did not rule out buying KentuckyOne’s assets but said U of L’s funding may complicate buying them.

He plans to update the board on his research progress in months.

U of L could renegotiate KFC Yum! Center lease agreement

U of L could revise its lease agreement on the KFC Yum! Center.

The announcement comes after a state audit criticized university athletics and the arena authority for

late annual payments. That audit also found the arena’s reserve fund, expected to have $18 million, held only $642,700.

U of L Interim President Greg Postel says he’s confident in reaching an agreement with help

from the athletics department.

“We’re all part of the same family and so Tom Jurich and I work closely together, Kevin Miller, Jeff

Spelker, all the people over there,” Postel said. “We’re working on this as a team,”

Postel expects to have new lease agreements proposals before the university board meets in June.