Commissioner Holliday notified superintendents Monday that he has been asked to plan for cuts of up to $20 million to P-12 education. His e-mail is here, and the Herald-Leader reporting here. In this post, I'd like to add a sense of scale to some of the Commissioner's specifics.
First, he says that "this budget reduction planning effort does not apply to SEEK, local school district health insurance or local district life insurance." Those three items are a huge part of the total, roughly like this:
The immune programs were decided by the Governor. However, it's worth noting that the Commissioner is not considering cuts to all the remaining program. He says he is not considering "flexible focus funds" and his list of possible cuts does indeed leave out extended school services, professional development, and safe schools. Beyond that, his list leaves out highly skilled educators, the School for the Blind, the School for the Deaf, state testing, the state share of school lunch costs, and the state share of Infinite Campus costs. Here's an idea of how that further reduces the possible cuts:
Source details for those who love them: This analysis started with the spending figures that the Department presented to the Kentucky Board of Education in October, using the column for the "enacted 2010 budget." Enacted means the amounts approved by the General Assembly, leaving out any cuts that have since been ordered. From that list, I eliminated one line item: the $21,700,100 originally budgeted for textbooks has already been nearly wiped out by earlier cuts. That's a sandlot method that makes the remaining amounts are a better representation of funding still vulnerable to the axe.