Budget recommendations so far offer few clues to the financial future of seven P-12 programs that target support to Kentucky students with distinctive needs:
These programs get no individual mention in Governor Bevin’s budget recommendations or the initial version of House Bill 200, this year’s budget legislation. They aren’t on the list of seventy programs to be eliminated, but they also are not shown with line items saying what each will receive.
If the House follows past practice, it will fill in the line items during committee work on the budget. Sometime in the next month or so, we’ll see an explicit plan for what support each of these seven important programs will receive.
Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that five of those seven programs have taken substantial cuts over the last decade, as shown in the chart above. Only the preschool program has seen real growth in funding, while family resource and youth service centers have seen an increase far too small to keep up with inflation.
It’s also worth noting that current preschool funding is not close to adequate. As shown in the Prichard Committee’s recent report, “Building Blocks: The Kentucky Early Childhood Cost of Quality Study,” current funding is not even enough to support programs that meet minimum state preschool requirements.
Bottom line: for Kentucky’s pursuit of excellence with equity, some very important funding figures are still “to be determined” in the current budget process.
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.