Investment in education, children means deep cuts to many agencies
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 21, 2014) – Saying Kentucky needs to lead, not cower, Gov. Steve Beshear on Tuesday unveiled a two-year budget proposal that combines harsh cuts and strategic borrowing to create funding for proposals that support Kentucky’s schools and workforce.
Beshear’s proposed 2014-2016 biennial budget:
♦ increases per-pupil K-12 funding to its highest level ever
♦ restores cuts to teacher training, textbooks, school safety and extended school services
♦ expands preschool services to more than 5,100 more children
♦ dedicates funds to expand high-speed broadband access throughout the state
♦ uses “agency bonds” for the first time ever to invest in the campuses of Kentucky’s two-year community and technical colleges
♦ restores funding to child-care assistance programs
♦ builds a $24 million advanced manufacturing training center that will supply workers to the auto industry and other sectors
In his State of the Commonwealth address two weeks ago, the governor signaled his intentions to cut other areas of state government to fund education, although he said Tuesday that he was “painfully aware” of what those cuts would do.
The challenge, he said, was that moderate projected increases in revenue are not sufficient to cover the growth in required expenses and maintenance of current levels of services. As a result, Beshear is recommending $98.6 million in cuts over the biennium. Many agencies will see reductions of 5 percent in the first fiscal year, then a straight-lined (no increase or decrease) budget for the second year. Since 2008, many of those agencies have seen their budgets slashed by 41 percent. These cuts could lead to delays in service, loss of federal funds, possible facility closures and possible layoffs.
“We are accelerating the momentum that has seen Kentucky leap ahead of many other states in measures of student performance and policy reform,” he said. “This budget proposal strategically focuses our very limited resources on what I believe will deliver the greatest return: a more highly educated population that will become a more talented workforce.”
For the entire outline of the governor’s budget proposal, click here.