Budget Cuts Slow Education Reforms
More cuts to Kentucky’s education budget will slow down the implementation of a landmark reform law. Senate Bill 1 is a wide-ranging education law that replaced Kentucky’s school testing system with stronger tests and content standards. Currently only English and math standards have been developed. And with a 4.5 percent cut planned for the Department of Education in Governor Steve Beshear’s latest budget proposal, new standards in other subjects are going to be delayed.
“I think the reality is, it is what it is with the existing budget situation,” says Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “So I think all we’re trying to get is as much flexibility to implement Senate Bill 1 as possible and also an awareness we may have to slow down on a few components of Senate Bill 1 til budgets pick back up.”
Those components are the new standards for science and social studies.
House legislators don’t appear concerned with the threat of a slowdown. But Holliday says the delays could last for five years if cuts are made now. Additionally, a projected increase in students will mean a five dollar per pupil reduction in SEEK formula funding, which will not be increased under Beshear’s budget proposal.
In all, the department requested an additional $43 million dollars to help with school improvements, college readiness and other important projects. After a budget committee meeting today, Holliday said he doesn’t expect his department will receive any of those funds.