Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear delivered his budget address last night. His proposed budget includes 5% cuts to most state programs while also including significant new investment in K-12 education and in infrastructure.
Here are the highlights of the K-12 education proposals:
Improving Competitiveness through Education: The most important investments in the Governor’s proposed budget are in K-12 education. The largest item is SEEK, the main funding formula for our classrooms. From 2000 to 2008, SEEK grew an average of 3.4 percent each year. But from 2008 to 2014, funding flatlined – even as enrollment expanded, costs increased and local support in some areas declined. In effect, per-pupil spending dropped, even though the annual SEEK allocation remained the same.
Governor Beshear recommends investing $189 million over the biennium into SEEK, bringing per pupil spending to its highest total ever.
That allocation will include pay increases for all teachers and classified school personnel (2 percent the first year, 1 percent the second year).
Gov. Beshear’s proposed education investments also include:
- $95.4 million over the biennium for textbooks, professional development, school safety and Extended School Services (restoring funds to near-2008 levels)
- $36 million over the biennium to expand preschool services to serve 5,125 more 4-year-olds by increasing eligibility from 150 percent of the poverty level to 160 percent. This is a 22 percent increase in enrollment.
- $50 million for technology and school equipment upgrades, funded through General Fund-supported bonds •$100 million for school facilities construction to replace aging K-12 school buildings through General Fund-supported bonds
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