Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Senate proposed budget includes alarming cuts to P12 education

| Post By Susan Perkins Weston |

Compared to the fiscal 2018 state budget currently in effect, the fiscal 2019 budget approved last night by the Senate would provide:

  • $92 million less for the Department of Education
  • $6 million less for School Facilities Construction Commission
  • $3 million less for Education Professional Standards Board

Within the Department of Education total reduction, the Senate-approved changes would include:

  • $44 million less for school district employee’s health insurance
  • $17 million less for instructional resources (textbooks)
  • $13 million less for SEEK base/Tier 1/transportation
  • $12 million less for teachers' retirement (employer match for current employees)
  • $12 million less for professional development
  • $6 million less for the preschool program
  • $3 million less for FRYSCs
  • $2 million less for extended school services
  • $2 million less for Department funding not in line items
  • $1 million less for the Read to Achieve program
  • $1 million less for state agency children
  • $13 million less for smaller line item programs funded for less than $5 million in fiscal 2018

  • $1 million in new funding for AP and IB exam fees for students with low family incomes
  • $8 million in new funding to offset local tax losses in districts that recently saw major reductions in the assessed value of their unmined minerals
  • $3 million more for the safe schools program
  • $21 million more for facilities

Elsewhere in the budget, the Senate would make a much larger cut with major implications for P-12 education. State budgets have long contained a separate appropriation to the Teachers Retirement System aimed at covering retirement benefits for work done in past years. That line item has historically included funding for health insurance for retirees who are not yet eligible for Medicare, costs of amortizing the accrued sick leave of new retirees, and contributions toward meeting the state’s unfunded pension liability. Compared to fiscal 2018, the Senate version of the fiscal 2019 budget calls for the state to provide:

  • $492 million less for that teacher retirement line item

Because retirement benefits are part of teachers’ total compensation, a cut of this scale would be likely to have a major impact on Kentucky’s ability to recruit and retain teachers in future years.

Matching past PrichBlog reporting, you can find more detail in this summary, including the Senate approach to fiscal 2020 and to smaller line item programs.

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