Proposed state budgets focus on education | Education

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State Democrats and Republicans have unveiled their education budget proposals in the past few days.

Governor Andy Beshear on Monday presented his budget plan for pre-K-12 education with a record investment of $ 2 billion in the state.

According to a press release, it is “the biggest investment in this sector in the history of the state”.

One of the sections mainly focuses on pre-K-12 education. He says the investment will provide a universal preschool for all 4-year-olds and full-time kindergarten for every child in Kentucky.

The GOP’s proposal also doubles state funding for full-time kindergarten over the two years and increases funding for school transportation from 51% to a minimum of 70%.

“I believe the two budget packages give our lawmakers a solid foundation on which to begin the budgeting process,” Hardin County Schools Superintendent Teresa Morgan said in an email.

LaRue County Superintendent of Schools David Raleigh said the district had reviewed the GOP’s proposed budget, but said he was happy to see a few aspects budgeted for Beshear.

“It’s good to see the focus and value put back on public education,” Raleigh said.

Raleigh said he liked the budget point adding more funds to preschool and kindergarten. He said that in order to close the achievement gaps, there needs to be a substantial investment in students from the start.

Morgan said in the email that “{span} will provide a more solid foundation that will support learning strategies for the rest of their lives. “{/ Span}

“I think full-time kindergarten is something that I think is doable as long as everyone agrees,” said Kelli Bush, superintendent of independent schools in Elizabethtown.

The investment also includes a 16.9% increase in SEEK funding, spending $ 11 million annually for statewide learning focused on literacy and math skills, an increase of 12.5 % of the SEEK base funding formula per student for elementary and secondary schools.

The GOP’s proposed budget includes increases in K-12 SEEK funding per student to $ 4,100 in the first fiscal year and to $ 4,200 in the second fiscal year.

The budget also proposes a minimum salary increase of 5% for all school personnel. The statement said this is the first salary increase identified in a state budget since the 2006-08 budget.

Bush said she is happy to see education being discussed again with both budgets having significant increases.

“I am very happy that the conversation is starting with the increased funding that goes to public education,” said Bush.

Bush and Morgan said that if passed, increasing teacher salaries would help keep teachers going in the future. Morgan said she hopes this will be sustainable beyond the biennium.

“This is something that we see at this point becoming a possible crisis issue in the near future if we don’t start looking for ways to recruit and retain,” Bush said.

Beshear’s budget would fully fund school district costs for student transportation with $ 175 million per year, an increase of 81%. It would also provide $ 22.9 million annually to restore funding for professional development as well as textbooks and educational resources.

Raleigh and Bush said the additional transportation costs would help general district budgets. Bush said about 70% of transportation costs come from the general budget.

She said the money for professional development and educational resources has not been provided in the past five or more years.

Social and emotional learning is also budgeted with $ 6.2 million provided annually across the state.

Raleigh said he was happy to see the social and emotional learning touched on. He said that was one of the biggest differences between the two budgets.

Raleigh said that with the district’s strategic plan, early childhood transition readiness, school safety and social-emotional learning are all factored into the Beshear budget.

“I just think it’s a little ambitious,” Raleigh said of Beshear’s proposed budget. “I just love the fact that both sides value public education.”

Andrew Harp can be reached at 270-505-1414 or [email protected]

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