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Report Shows Kentucky Public Education Needs $2.4 Billion More

Eleanor Hasken
Sarah Yost prepares her classroom for her new students at Wesport Middle School, in Louisville, Ky., on Friday, August 8, 2014. Photo by Eleanor Hasken

A group representing nearly every Kentucky school district—including Jefferson County Public Schools—says the state should change its funding model, which was established in 1990.

As WFPL reported Monday, the Council for Better Education, a consortium of 168 Kentucky public school districts, released its independent report prepared by the firm Picus, Odden & Associates, which analyzes how the Kentucky Department of Education is funded and how the agency should use its funding.

But if Kentucky was to fully implement the report's recommendations, lawmakers would have to allocate up to $2.4 billion more to public education, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association.

The Council says the way the state currently funds its public education system will not allow schools to prepare all students for college or careers.

Council President Tom Shelton told KSBA that the state's current SEEK funding (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky) - which was created in 1990 and uses a complicated formula to determine how much money school districts get -  did "what it was intended to do - to address huge inequities all across the state."

But it does not address adequacy issues, Shelton told KSBA.

The KSBA report also said it could take five to seven years to implement all or some of the recommendations.

Here are just a few of the evidence-based practices in the report that are recommended Kentucky take up:

  • Fund full day kindergarten (current Kentucky policy counts students as half-day even if enrolled in full day program)
  • Expanded early childhood (preschool) programs
  • Reduced class sizes - 15 students to 1 teacher in grades K-3; 25 students to 1 teacher for grades 4-12
  • More teacher-tutor positions in schools, one for every 125 students on free or reduced lunch program.
  • Funding for extended day classes, depending on students on free and reduced lunch.
  • Here's the full report: