KEAT Message

KEAT Statement in Response to Governor Bevin’s Budget Proposal

The members of the Kentucky Education Action Team (KEAT), who represent more than 130,000 active and retired school employees, and thousands of parents, elected school leaders, and administrators, once again recognize that Section 183 of our Constitution requires that the General Assembly ” shall by appropriate legislation provide for an efficient system of common schools throughout the State.” In a landmark ruling in 1989, our Supreme Court held:

Each child, every child, in this Commonwealth must be provided with an equal opportunity to have an adequate education. Equality is the key word here. The children of the poor and the children of the rich, the children who live in the poor districts and the children who live in the rich districts must be given the same opportunity and access to an adequate education. This obligation cannot be shifted to local counties and local school districts.

House Bill 200, Governor Bevin’s budget proposal, clearly shifts the obligation to provide for each child’s education to local communities, and thus to local taxpayers, and would abandon efforts to provide equitable and adequate state funding in ways that will seriously hinder education advancement in our Commonwealth. This budget would bring some local districts to the brink of insolvency and closure.

In addition to the instructional and student support programs eliminated by this proposal, it reduces state funding to the SEEK program, including base SEEK funding to schools. It severely reduces funding for student transportation which is a part of SEEK and is statutorily directed to be entirely state funded.

This proposal underfunds local district employee health insurance. Districts have previously not borne this cost because the state treats school employees the same as other state employees for this purpose. The governor’s budget also breaks the commitment to provide health insurance to retired teachers under age 65, and eliminates the state’s share of contribution to the Teachers’ Retirement System health insurance fund. Doing so breaks the commitment entered into by the legislature, teachers, and local districts in 2010. These and other shortfalls will shift obligations to local taxpayers, at levels that cause grave concern in this time of significant local revenue constraints in regions across Kentucky.

The amount of reductions in state funding are clearly shown in the summary document released by the Governor’s Office of the State Budget Director, which is att ached. State funding to base SEEK support alone would be approximately $72 million less than what the legislature appropriated in the current budget. Other costs being shifted to local communities, for transportation, employee health insurance, and teacher pension match, is approximately $666 million.

The budget is now in our legislators’ hands. We call upon them to keep the commitments made to students, their families, school employees, and to local districts, and to consider the impact their budget will have on our shared future. We ask our legislators to do what is necessary to properly invest in the adequate and equitable education of each and every child.

KEAT, the Kentucky Education Action Team, is comprised of stakeholder associations united from across the public education community of the Commonwealth.

Kentucky Association of School Administrators
Kentucky Association of School Councils
Kentucky Association of School Superintendents
Kentucky Education Association
Kentucky PTA
Kentucky Retired Teachers Association
Kentucky School Boards Association