It is time to stop saying, “It could have been worse.”
As this year’s legislative session has come to a close we can now put a recap on the impact on teaching and learning in our schools. The news for school funding is not good as according to the Louisville Courier Journal, when adjusted for inflation, per-pupil funding in Kentucky is 16 percent less than it was in 2008. It is time for our state budget to reflect our priorities to educate and grow our most valuable asset…our children.
For the past 8 – 10 years educators, students and families have been left saying, “It could have been worse.” Each year more and more is expected from our teachers and staff and funding levels continue to be cut or they lack in keeping up with the cost of inflation. This year we saw our teachers and staff advocating both in front of our schools and in Frankfort, not for additional funding, but to keep the funding and pension plans they have been promised and paid into. And yet again, our statement coming out of the session was, “It could have been worse.”
This legislative session has left our schools once again losing funding. For Dayton Independent Schools we estimate an overall lose of revenue for textbooks, professional development, preschool, gifted and talented, and extended school services to be $41,000. We are also expected to pay more for classified retirement in the amount of $11,600. (This amount will balloon overtime to be an additional $116,000) Our required salary step increase for years of service will equal about $60,000. The state did increase our SEEK money by 19 dollars per student, that equals around $14,000 in additional revenue. So when you do our additions and subtractions it shows our school funding for next year at a loss of $98,600.
The loss of these funds will reduce services for students and continue the slow drip of underfunding for teaching and learning. I ask that this fall and in future elections you ask candidates the following question.
How have you and how will you support Kentucky Public School education?
90% of Kentucky kids attend public school. 65% qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch. If not our schools, where are they going to get the support, structure, experiences, and opportunities to grow up to be great?
Proudly serving as Superintendent of Dayton Independent Schools