Issues & Action - Raise Your Hand Campaign - Funding Background
If Kentucky is going to maintain the remarkable progress we have made over the last twenty years, the General Assembly must invest in our schools. If not, both students’ academic welfare and our communities’ economic welfare will suffer.
Our Students’ Academic Welfare
- SEEK: This basic school funding formula is lower today than it was in 2008, even without considering inflation. And that means schools have less money than ever. Yet demands on schools are higher than ever, with implementation of new standards, new accountability, new assessments, and PGES. Without basic school funding increases, class size has gone up, positions have been eliminated, raises have been delayed, and instructional materials have lagged.
- Flexible Focus Funds: State funding for professional development, preschool, safe schools, extended school services, and textbooks/instructional materials has been decimated. These programs and resources are needed more today than ever, as student needs and demands on schools have increased.
- Technology: The 2013 TELL Kentucky survey identified this as the top need across the state. More and more, schools are relying on technology to provide teachers with professional development, student learning resources, and student assessment. Yet technology in schools has not kept up with these demands. Both up-to-date equipment and increased bandwidth are desperately needed.
Our Communities’ Economic Welfare
Our communities depend on an educated workforce to attract and retain good-paying local jobs. School employees spend their salaries in their community. When they lose pay, local merchants lose business.
- Salaries (funded through SEEK): Most employees’ salaries have been flat over the last five years, while inflation has gone up 6.75%. Add to this the additional burden of a reduced paid school year, increased pension contributions and health care costs, and that means many school employees’ pay is thousands less today than it was five years ago. At the same time, they are spending crushing amount of time serving their students and communities.
- Pensions (KTRS and CERS): Pension systems for both certified and classified employees are woefully under-funded because of previous General Assembly action. It’s time to start making up that deficit. The longer we wait, the deeper the hole will be.
- Health care: School employees with family coverage or cross-referenced coverage are either paying much more for that coverage or absorbing costs that insurance used to cover, or both. This results in another reduction in take-home salary.