From the KDP: Bevin’s anti-public school agenda revealed in budget proposal Suggests closure of 70 state programs


Kentucky Democratic Party

Gov. Matt Bevin revealed his anti-public education agenda in his budget proposal Tuesday night, which included proposing local school districts pick up the bill of an estimated $138 million for student transportation costs and shoulder $60 million, according to the Kentucky Education Association, in school employee health costs.

While Bevin maintained his budget proposal keeps school funding of $3,981 per pupil over his biennium budget, he has cut many programs vital for students across Kentucky.

Bevin also didn’t spare his jabs at school districts saying they are too top-heavy with administrators like Jefferson County Public Schools district who don’t “teach in the classroom,” and that’s “where the cuts are going to come from. We need to clean that up in a big way.”

Saying Fayette and Jefferson County were unfairly hoarding reserve funds, which are mandated by law, Bevin said local school boards will be expected to use those funds totaling about $1 billion across the state.

Bevin’s executive budget calls for no funding for the following educational programs:

•Appalachian Tutoring program

•Georgia Chaffee Teenage Parent program

•Lexington Hearing and Speech Center program

•Heuser Hearing and Speech program

•Instructional Materials/Textbook program

•Teach for America program

•Professional Development program (pending notwithstanding KRS 156.095)

•Collaborative Center for Literacy Development program (notwithstanding KRS 164.0207)

•Leadership and Mentoring program (notwithstanding KRS 157.390)

•Middle School Academic Achievement Center program (notwithstanding KRS 156.555)

•Teacher Academies program (notwithstanding KRS 156.095(10))

•Writing program (notwithstanding KRS 158.770 and KRS 158.775)

•Teacher’s Professional Growth program (notwithstanding KRS 156.553)

•Kentucky Environmental Education Council program (notwithstanding KRS 157.910 and KRS 224.43–050(2)(b))

•Non-construction state aid to local libraries (notwithstanding KRS 171.201)

•Kentucky Teacher Internship Program (notwithstanding KRS 161.030)

• Virtual Learning program and Teacher Quality and Diversity program. (notwithstanding KRS 158.805)

• No funding for the Commonwealth School Improvement Fund program.

Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Ben Self called Bevin’s cuts a clear sign Bevin lacks vision for the state.

“After tonight, Kentuckians should have no doubts that Gov. Bevin lacks the innovation and vision to move this state forward,” Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Ben Self said.

“He knew last year his budget was flawed with a $156-million shortfall, but instead of fixing the fundamental issues facing our state, he chose to play politics and cripple our state further by defunding critical elements of our public school system — transportation, textbook money, professional development and a capped health coverage for teachers.

We need a budget that fully funds our public education system, and doesn’t gut it as the governor has proposed.”

Cuts to state university programs include:

•Eastern Kentucky University’s Community Operations Board in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

•Morehead’s Kentucky Folk Art Center in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

•Northern Kentucky University’s Kentucky Center for Mathematics in fiscal years 2019 and 2020

•University of Kentucky’s Hospital Direct Support program

•University of Kentucky’s Agriculture Public Service program

•University of Kentucky’s University Press program

•University of Kentucky’s Center for Entrepreneurship program

•University of Kentucky’s Kentucky Transportation Center

The budget proposal also includes no operating budget for the Kentucky Center for the Arts that hosts the Governor’s School for The Arts every year. Notably, the budget provides no funding in fiscal years 2019 and 2020 for the following programs: Hospital Direct Support, Agriculture Public Service, the University Press and the Center for Entrepreneurship.

House Minority Floor Leader Rocky Adkins said the state must invest in both education and infrastructure.

“In talking about public education there’s still a lot of concerns,” Adkins said. “I can tell you the governor talked schools’ reserve funds. There’s some rural districts that I represent that have very little reserve funds. Transportation dollars have not been increased by the legislature or from the state back to local school districts in over a decade. That’s very concerning to me that will be another cut. I can tell you a school district in my district takes out over $1million during the school year to help fund transportation. That’s very concerning to me.”

Adkins said House Democrats could work with Bevin’s proposals when it came to foster care programs, putting money toward the opioid crisis or law enforcement.


Bevin gave optimistic proposals for the state’s ailing pension systems totaling about $3.3 billion in his budget, but continued with his Koch-brothers-canned talking points that structural changes must be made instead of just paying what is owed.

The governor went farther to spend part of his hourlong address criticizing his pension bill proposal opponents saying no one had approached with another idea.

Despite the Bevin reality-distortion field, several Democrats have proposed legislation this session that would both generate revenue for the state’s pension debt and reform Kentucky’s tax structure — which he dismissed as “raising everyone’s taxes.”

In Kentucky, the middle class pays up to 10.8 percent per household of state and local taxes while those making $330,000 or more pay only 6 percent per household in state and local taxes. The entire budget can be found here.

A few quick budget facts worth noting:

The biennium budget appropriates $11 billion for fiscal years 2018–2019 and $11.3 billion for fiscal years 2019–2020;

According to Bevin’s state budget director, the state is $1 billion short on what it needs for all state functions

Bevin’s budget recommends a more than 6 percent cut to all state agencies

According to Chilton $700 million more is needed for annually to wrangle in the $ 43.8 billion of pension debt, which Bevin touts as more than $60 billion