The version of the state budget approved by the House on March 20 includes major cuts likely to weaken Kentucky’s efforts to develop the talents of all children and undo achievement gaps between groups of students. Key programs for supporting students with distinctive needs are slated for reduction or elimination, as are nearly all programs for equipping teachers to respond to those needs.
This Senate version of the budget would do even greater harm than the House version. The House voted to eliminate textbook funding and cut FRYSCs (family resource and youth service centers), but it maintained fiscal 2018 funding for extended school services (tutoring), gifted and talented programs, preschool for children with disabilities or low family incomes, Read to Achieve grants to help students who struggle in reading catch up, or supports for children who have been placed in state agency care.
The $24 million in reductions to teacher development are the same ones PrichBlog has highlighted before, and they continue to pose a grave threat to teachers’ ability to plan and implement the instructional innovations that will be needed to meet Kentucky’s ambitious goals for raising achievement and reducing achievement gaps.
To repeat the major point about this approach, excellence with equity cannot be reached on this budget path.
Since 1983, the Prichard Committee has worked to study priority issues, inform the public and policy makers about best practices and engage citizens, business leaders, families, students, and other stakeholders in a shared mission to move Kentucky to the top tier of all states for education excellence and equity for all children, from their earliest years through postsecondary education.