The Kentucky Education Action Team, bringing together the state's key education stakeholder groups, held a press conference this morning to call attention to those losses. The official press release is here, and added KEAT information is here. For this post, I'd like to share the numbers themselves.
The graphs below show the key declines in per pupil funding, adjusted for inflation, and they are painful news.
First, the state contribution to SEEK base funding is down. It's true that the SEEK base guarantee has gone up, but each year the state has counted on local districts to fund more of that guarantee. Plus, the state budgets for 2010-11 and 2011-12 underestimated the number of pupils who would need to be funded, and the state has handled that decline by cutting funding to below the guaranteed amount.
Preschool has taken even deeper damage, with rising enrollments meaning fewer dollars for every student needing that vital preparation for school success.
And then, each of the categorical programs that supports specific student and teacher needs has been reduced, removing essential supports for meeting Kentucky's ambitious goals for all students.
The one bright spot in this sad story is the unity of Kentucky education leaders around the need to move forward on Kentucky's goals and provide the funding to make those goals a reality. KEAT includes the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, the Kentucky Association of School Councils, the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, the Kentucky Education Association, the Kentucky School Boards Association, the Kentucky PTA, and the Prichard Committee, and leaders from all seven groups stood together this morning in favor of delivering what Kentucky's children need.