Thursday, November 18, 2010

The ESS program: One-sixth of original size

Extended school services provides added instructional time who needed added support to reach state standards.  Created by KERA, it was originally budgeted to receive $53 million to support the program in fiscal year 1992.   That money was meant to support not only after-school tutoring, but strong summer school options.  Instead, we started pulling back almost immediately: faced with recession in 1992, the General Assembly pulled way back on that commitment and slashed the program to $29 million.  That lost funding never came back, and the robust intentions of the original program never came back either.

If we'd sustained that original buying power and kept up with inflation, the program would now have received $81 million in FY 2009, the most recent year for which we have a final spending figure.  Instead, ESS received just $14 million that year, a tiny fraction of the original plan for the program.

Source note: ESS funding numbers come from the annual supplemental information to the state's financial reports.  1992 to 2005 amounts were published in "A Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full? An Overview of the State School Funding Landscape in Kentucky, 1990-2008," a white paper Stephen Clements and I prepared for the Prichard Committee in 2008. 2006 to 2009 amounts were taken from online reports available here. The buying power of the original $53 million was worked out by adjusting upward by the Consumer Price Index each year.

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