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Two local districts have joined a growing chorus of voices asking the state legislature to remember the educational needs of its children.
Hardin County Schools, Elizabethtown Independent Schools and several other districts across the state are asking for the General Assembly to restore state funding to school districts to 2009 levels. Since that time, the Support Education Excellence in Kentucky fund has dropped by almost $40 per student.
The Kentucky Board of Education set restoring the funding to $3,866 per student as a priority for the upcoming legislative budget session. This would take an additional $60 million, approximately, in Fiscal Year 2015 and an additional $90 million in FY 2016.
About a dozen districts have chimed in their support, creating resolutions asking for the state to return funding to past levels, said Brad Hughes, a spokesman for the Kentucky School Boards Association.
“I expect that number to leap in the next couple of weeks,” Hughes said.
Superintendents were asked by Terry Holliday, commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education, to support additional money, but the idea of resolutions was developed on its own.
“This is kind of a grassroots thing,” Hughes said.
HCS raised property taxes for this school year, as many other districts across the state did, to address funding shortfalls elsewhere, he said.
The HCS resolution states Unbridled Learning, the revamp of the state’s assessments and expectations of school districts, has added responsibilities to the districts but hasn’t been backed by financial support from the legislature. HCS Community Relations Director John Wright said board members tired of having to turn to local taxpayers to fund the district.
“We just decided to join these districts and say enough is enough,” Wright said.
Kelly Cantrallcan be reached at 270-505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.