Some good, some bad with proposed school funding


By OJ Stapleton - ostapleton@newsdemocratleader.com



This week, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin announced his proposed state budget and despite some worry, education will not be taking a massive hit.

“Overall, it is not as bad as some thought it might be,” said Logan County Superintendent Dr. Kevin Hub.

The biggest relief was that the SEEK funding, which currently provides $3,981 per student to school districts, will not be changed over the next two years.

“I think leaving the SEEK formula alone is positive,” said Russellville Independent schools superintendent Leon Smith. “We’re encouraged to see that, but without the opportunity to give staff raises over the next two years, that’s a burden on school districts and a little discouraging on that end.”

SEEK money provides the biggest chunk of state funding for the local schools, but other revenue that comes in from the state will be affected.

“We are looking at a loss in many of our flexible focus funds,” Hub said. “That money helps fund programs like preschool development and safe schools.”

Some of the governors proposed budget cuts include:

  • $4 million less each year for preschool services.
  • $2 million less each year for family resource and youth services centers.
  • $2 million less each year for a budget group of programs that include safe schools, teacher academies, Every 1 Reads, Advance Kentucky, and professional development.
  • $1 million less for career and technical education – another area where the state board of education has sought a major funding increase.
  • $1 million less for after-school programs.
  • About $800,000 less for Reach to Achieve, $750,000 less each year for textbooks, $500,000 less for specialized teacher training, and $300,000 less for gifted and talented programs.

Those cuts will affect all school districts and Hub estimated it could cost Logan County as much as $100,000 per year.

“We are already trying to determine how to use some of our federal funding to make up for that,” he said. “We don’t expect any staff layoffs because of them, though.”

Also, funding for transportation will remain at its current levels, which is estimated at only about 60 percent of cost.

The governor is addressing the deficit in funding of the teacher retirement system, which is something Smith and the Russellville school board is glad for.

The board recently adopted a resolution calling for funding of the KRTS.

“I am glad we’re addressing the KTRS deficit,” Smith said. ” We know it’s going to take time to get out of that hole though, because it took a long time to dig it.”

By OJ Stapleton

ostapleton@newsdemocratleader.com

To contact OJ Stapleton, email ostapleton@newsdemocratleader.com or call 270-726-8394.

To contact OJ Stapleton, email ostapleton@newsdemocratleader.com or call 270-726-8394.

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