FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 28, 2016) – Lawmakers, political leaders, teachers, school officials and parents today are united in their stand against Gov. Bevin’s decision not to distribute Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding for public schools across Kentucky for FY 2016.
“Gov. Bevin has made it clear that his goal is to do everything he can to cut funding to education in Kentucky, and we have to make a stand against that,” said Rep. Rick Rand, chairman of the Appropriations and Revenue Committee. “There’s no doubt that education is the key to economic growth and a better future for our children and our Commonwealth.”
In deciding not to fund the SEEK budget adjustment, Gov. Bevin is refusing to provide thousands of dollars to almost every public school system in Kentucky. Statewide, the SEEK adjustment will cut more than $4.6 million in funding from schools.
Gov. Bevin has issued a proclamation calling for prayer for students today, which states the following: “It is incumbent upon us as parents, corporate and community leaders to do everything within our power to protect the students of Kentucky.”
“Praying for our kids matters, but they need action, too,” said Rep. Kelly Flood. “Faith without works is dead, and schools without proper funding will fail to create a better future for our children and a stronger economy for Kentucky.”
The top ten school systems losing money include the following:
- Jefferson: $458,163
- Fayette: $169,175
- Hardin: $129,385
- Daviess: $114,656
- Meade: $99,530
- Oldham: $99,337
- Boone: $93,881
- Warren: $78,716
- Pike: $76,295
- Bullitt: $73,620
The SEEK funding program is an allocation of state-provided funds to local school districts. The formula-based plan includes funding for transportation costs and exceptional students as reported by districts. The appropriation for SEEK is built on forecasted attendance figures. The past two fiscal years the appropriation for SEEK has been underestimated due to differences between forecasts and actual experience. Lawmakers committed to make up the difference for schools by designating the funding gap as a necessary government expense in the state budget.
According to the budget bill, the SEEK adjustment can be up to $10 million and “shall be deemed a necessary government expense and shall be paid from the General Fund Surplus or the Budget Reserve Trust Fund.” Kentucky currently has a projected $319.3 million in reserve with $151.4 million of that amount assigned to a permanent pension fund.
“In order to attract business and grow our economy in Kentucky, we need an educated workforce,” said House Speaker Greg Stumbo. “The Governor says he will pray for our students, but then he preys on their funding. He doesn’t seem to realize how important our students are to the future of the Commonwealth.”
“We cannot succeed as a state if we keep dropping the ball on our teachers and students in the public education system, which has endured cut after cut for too long,” said Joy Gray, who is a candidate for House of Representatives and a retired teacher from the Daviess County public school system for 30 years. “We’re talking about crucial programs for students, and it’s obvious that Gov. Bevin doesn’t care about funding public education.”
“Cutting education is undermining our economy and the ability to attract new business and create jobs, said Pam Sigler, a former public school teacher and current candidate for the House of Representatives representing Fayette County.
“We must fight for our children, and work to put Kentucky families first,” said Rep. Chuck Tackett, who represents Scott, Owen and part of Fayette County. “Investing in education is an investment in the future, and today we’re standing up for Kentucky’s kids.”
“It’s ironic that Gov. Bevin decided to issue a proclamation today asking for prayer for our students, calling them ‘our state’s single greatest resource’ — yet he cuts crucial funding to their schools,” said McKenzie Cantrell, a Jefferson County candidate for the House of Representatives. “This is exactly why we need a check to Gov. Bevin’s abuse of power in Frankfort.”
“The governor can talk about the importance of our students, but actions speak louder than words,” said Al Gentry, a Jefferson County candidate for the House of Representatives. “We must never quit fighting for our kids, and now is the time to send a loud message to the governor that we must invest in our future.”
“This is money that schools use for everything from classroom instruction to school bus maintenance,” said Rep. David Watkins, also a former teacher. “It’s unbelievable that Gov. Bevin would simply skip out on the SEEK adjustment.”
“School districts across Kentucky have struggled with flat contributions from the state since the economic downturn in 2008,” said Jim Townsend, former teacher and candidate for House of Representatives. “Now we have money in the bank. How much longer are we going to keep hurting our public education system? Now is the time to hold Gov. Bevin and his friends in Frankfort accountable for our students and our future.”
“It’s clear that Gov. Bevin has decided he doesn’t really care about our kids’ futures,” said Rep. Jim Glenn. “This is unacceptable, and we need to rise up as a Commonwealth and make a statement that our teachers, our students and our schools need our support.”
“An educated and skilled workforce is crucial to attracting business and growing our economy in Kentucky,” said Rep. Tommy Thompson. “There’s no doubt in my mind that this is an extremely bad move from Gov. Bevin, and once again shows his disappointing attitude toward our schools.”
“SEEK does everything from keeping the buses running to providing critical items for teachers to use in the classroom,” said Rep. Chris Harris. “It’s mind-boggling that our governor would do this to our students.”
“Pike County and districts across Kentucky have dealt with cut after cut since 2008,” said Rep. John Short. “The time is now to stop sacrificing the future of our children.”
“It’s unacceptable to keep hurting our teachers and students in the public education system,” said Angie Hatton, candidate for House of Representatives. “The Governor’s cuts mean the elimination of crucial programs for students, and it’s clear that he doesn’t really care about public education.”
“It’s time to send a message loud and clear that we will no longer stand for these cuts to our schools,” said Sen. Ray Jones. “Our kids deserve better, our teachers deserve better, and Kentucky deserves better.”
The Kentucky Democratic Party is comprised of more than 1.68 million registered Democrats who support issues that enhance the fair treatment of all Kentuckians. Visit www.kydemocrat.com for more information.