Kentucky: Education Groups Join to Lobby for More Funding

Over the past four years, the budgets of public schools in Kentucky have been cut and slashed left, right and center. But a new coalition of education groups want to put a stop to that, saying that 2012 should be the year that this trend is reversed, writes Tom Loftus at The Courier-Journal.

Leaders from the coalition came together for a news conference in Frankfort, stating that they wanted to right any public misgivings over whether education funding has been spared in the series of severe state budget cuts since the national economic downturn that began in late 2007.

Bill Scott, executive director of the Kentucky School Boards Association, said:

“The public hears a lot of talk about education having been protected from cuts in recent years. … That’s only true on a relative level (compared) to the cuts in funding to other public services.”

Members of the coalition are keen to point out there that base per-pupil funding also has been cut alongside the withdrawal of funds for key support programs such as tutoring, textbooks and professional development.

Stu Silberman, executive director of the Prichard committee, said:

“Having all these organizations come together like this is a historic time for Kentucky.

“We believe that education is the bridge to a better life for all Kentuckians. The progress that has been made over the last 20 years is in danger of regression due to the reductions in funding.”

The coalition, so far, consists of the Kentucky School Boards Association, the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, the Kentucky Education Association, the Kentucky Association of School Councils, the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, the Kentucky Parent-Teacher Association and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

Governor Steve Beshear is set to propose his 2012-14 state budget to the General Assembly in the next few weeks.