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Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announces education budget proposal

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 1:20 PM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WSAZ) -Governor Andy Beshear announced on Monday part of his budget proposal which lawmakers will need to approve.

Beshear called the investments “game-changing. ” In his budget proposal, it includes a $2 billion investment in universal preschool for all 4 year-olds and full-day Kindergarten for every child in Kentucky, while the state House’s proposal would only fully fund kindergarten.

Gov. Beshear said, “No longer will tens of thousands of our children be left out of preschool or head start – programs that we know provide positive outcomes on children’s early literacy and mathematics skills and foster long-term educational success.”

The historic investment starts with a 16.9% increase in SEEK funding. The Governor is dedicating $11 million each year to provide statewide learning focusing on literacy and mathematical ability and to implement a regional coaching program. He is providing a 12.5% increase in the SEEK base per-pupil funding formula for elementary and secondary schools. This budget also fully funds school districts’ costs for student transportation, with $175 million annually, which is an 81% increase in funding.

The Governor’s budget provides $22.9 million each year to restore funding for professional development as well as textbooks and instructional resources.

To support Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, Gov. Beshear is providing $97.4 million this year to support the renovation of 11 local CTE centers that were not funded last year through the Better Kentucky Plan. The CTE centers still in need are in the following school districts in our region are: Boyd, Carter, and Lewis counties.

It also includes a 5% across-the-board salary increase added onto a regular certified salary schedule increase. Beshear said there will be no additional increase in health insurance premiums.

According to the National Educational Association, Kentucky ranks 42nd in the nation for starting salaries, with new teachers averaging about $37,000 per year

“It’s absolutely necessary as we lose more teachers,” said Beshear. " I will push, and push to make sure the salary increase remains or is added to any budget.”

The Governor’s budget would provide $26.3 million each year for a student loan forgiveness program that will provide a maximum $3,000 annual award for each year of employment in a public school as a teacher.

Education leaders hope the governor will support more funding for all levels of learning.

said “There is no greater investment in our state’s future than education, which ensures the next generation is prepared to successfully enter the workforce and contribute to the incredible economic growth and job development Kentucky has worked to achieve. Education helps ensure a quality and prosperous life for all current and future Kentuckians. In what has been – and continues to be – a very tough couple of years for our schools, we are so pleased to see these proposed historic investments in public education,” said Commissioner Jason Glass of the Kentucky Department of Education.

The full budget is expected to be released on Thursday.

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