FRANKFURT, Ky. – Governor Andy Beshear outlined his budget plan to make a record $ 2 billion investment in pre-K-12 education to create a world-class education system across the Commonwealth, the largest investment in this sector in the history of the state.
The governor added that the state’s recent record economic growth, with more than $ 11.2 billion in new investment and 18,000 new full-time jobs created in 2021 alone, proves Kentucky is a destination for large global companies like Ford, Toyota, GE Appliances and Amazon.
In his budget, at every level from kindergarten to post-secondary education, the governor is making groundbreaking investments that will turn two years of economic progress into 20 years of economic prosperity.
Pre-K-12 educationThe Governor’s Budget begins with investments in the Commonwealth’s youngest learners, providing universal preschool for all 4-year-olds and full-time kindergarten for every child in Kentucky – for the first time.
The historic investment begins with a 16.9% increase in SEEK funding. It has been more than 30 years since this type of investment was made. The Governor spends $ 11 million annually to provide statewide learning focused on literacy and math skills and to implement a regional coaching program. It provides for a 12.5% increase in SEEK’s base per student funding formula for elementary and secondary schools. This budget also fully funds school district costs for student transportation, at $ 175 million per year, which represents an 81% increase in funding.
The governor’s budget provides $ 22.9 million annually to restore funding for professional development as well as textbooks and educational resources.
The governor added that a great education system requires more than learning resources and said we cannot ignore the social, emotional and mental health needs of our students. He highlighted Lt. Gov. Coleman’s efforts over the past year to visit schools to speak directly with students about their mental health needs. The governor’s budget provides $ 6.2 million annually to address this issue by bringing together statewide staff and eight regional social and emotional learning institutes to provide our educators with access to training on best way to help our students with their mental health.
The governor is offering two new grant programs to school districts to provide comprehensive services to students affected by violence, substance abuse, child abuse and parental incarceration, as well as other training and resources to help students.
Career and technical educationThe governor said vocational and technical education centers are an essential part of high school curricula, helping to meet students’ needs for academic achievement, career exploration, career preparation and development. leadership.
To support vocational and technical education (CTE) programs, Governor Beshear is providing $ 97.4 million this year to support the renovation of 11 local CTE centers that were not funded last year under the Better Kentucky Plan. CTE centers still in need are located in the following school districts: Boyd, Carter, Edmonson, Fleming, Grayson, Lewis, Livingston, McCreary, Marshall, Nelson and Union.
An additional $ 75 million is also included for a new round of requests to renovate more CTE centers and an additional $ 8 million each year provides funding to 12 locally operated CTE centers that have not done so. part of the funding formula over the past 12 years due to a lack of funding. They include centers in the following school districts: Ashland Independent, Bardstown Independent, Boone, Boyle, Hardin, Hopkins, Hart, Laurel, Oldham, Spencer, Washington and Whitley.
Additional funding is provided to state-run regional technical schools in the amount of $ 3.2 million in fiscal year 2023 and $ 3.6 million in fiscal year 2024.
The governor is also supporting schools selected by the US Department of Education that need additional leadership, literacy and numeracy support by providing $ 14.4 million annually to support all identified schools. .
Governor Beshear’s budget also reinstates a long-standing library grant program that was discontinued, with $ 2.5 million per year for local library grants.
Local and state education leaders applauded the governor’s plan.
Teacher compensation and benefitsGovernor Beshear has said it is high time to pay those who educate our children what they are worth. It offers a minimum 5% salary increase for all school personnel. This is in addition to regular salary increases for certified staff.
This is the first salary increase identified in a state budget since the 2006-08 budget.
According to the National Educational Association, Kentucky ranks 42nd in the country for starting salaries, with new teachers averaging about $ 37,000 per year.
The Governor’s budget goes further by providing $ 26.3 million annually for a student loan cancellation program that will provide an annual reward of up to $ 3,000 for each year of public school employment as a teacher.
The Governor also fully funds teachers’ pensions and medical benefits. And there will be no increase in health insurance premiums for school employees.
Governor Beshear also included much needed funding for Family Resource and Youth Service Centers, providing an additional $ 6 million each year to support the 874 Family Resource and Youth Service Centers in 1,200 schools that serve nearly 650,000 students and families.
Student leaders, education advocates and educators across the state hailed the governor’s plan.
Higher EducationIn addition to his $ 2 billion investment in pre-K-12 education, the governor’s budget also provides the largest increase in funding for higher education in decades with an increase of almost 12%. And it is necessary – from 2008 to 2020, approximately $ 250 million in General Fund support was cut from the nine public post-secondary institutions.
The governor’s budget includes $ 60 million for the Bucks for Brains program, which will be matched dollar for dollar with private donations. Bucks for Brains is helping the state support our world-class economy by aligning post-secondary education with emerging business and industry needs, and many new and exciting businesses are coming to Kentucky. These funds also help students prepare for employment and foster an entrepreneurial climate.
Another top priority for post-secondary education is to pay off the deferred maintenance debt of nine post-secondary institutions.
And the governor is investing funds, including agency bonds as well as third-party donations, for the new construction of 19 new university capital projects, including:
- Eastern Kentucky University building a new model laboratory school;
- Morehead State University constructing a new science and engineering building;
- Murray State University renovates classrooms and offices to support the science and nursing curriculum;
- Northern Kentucky University expanding the Herrmann Natural Science Center;
- University of Kentucky constructing new health education building;
- The University of Louisville joins its school of speed engineering;
- Western Kentucky University building a new Gordon Ford College of Business; and
- The Kentucky Community & Technical College System (KCTCS) is renovating and / or replacing buildings in Elizabethtown, Jefferson County and Somerset.
The Governor is also helping our needy post-secondary students by increasing the maximum scholarship assistance programs, the College Access Program (CAP), and the Kentucky Scholarship Program.
Both of these programs have benefited from the dedication and revenue growth of the Kentucky Lottery in recent years. Leveraging Federal Pell Grant dollars, the CAP program now covers tuition and full-time fees at KCTCS and nearly covers tuition and average fees at four-year institutions. With additional dollars from the General Fund, the Governor is increasing the CAP’s maximum grant to $ 3,100 and $ 3,300 in fiscal years 2023 and 2024, while continuing to fund all eligible applicants.
The governor announced a new program – the Better Kentucky Promise Scholarship – that bridges the gap between tuition fees and federal and other aids for all new students seeking degrees and certificates at public universities and private institutions in Kentucky nonprofit.
Responsible and real budgetThe governor told Kentuckians that we are recovering quickly from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and that we have achieved new record private sector investments in 2021. The state’s successes under Governor Beshear’s leadership have made raising Kentucky’s finances to an all-time high, which set the stage for game-changing investments. The state’s fiscal strengths include:
- All-time record revenue surplus with $ 1.9 billion more than expected in general fund revenue;
- Best consecutive growth rate since 2005-2006;
- The income of the General Fund has increased by more than 15% during the first half of the current fiscal year;
- Governor Beshear continues to pay Commonwealth pension obligations;
- The government has the lowest debt ratio since the policy was adopted; and
- The largest rainy day fund in state history.
Click here for more information on Kentucky Businesses.