Advocates for public education raised their collective voices today in Lexington. They’ve been ask to lobby their state legislators for more money. Participants at the Education Summit heard from Lexington Paul Lawrence Dunbar senior Andrew Brennen, who says overcrowded classrooms and worn out textbooks are a concern.
“One of the textbooks that Maheika is holding appears to have something bitten out of the bottom and the textbook in Maheika’s right hand is put together with so much tape, I don’t know where the funding for that came from, but apparently we have it,” said Brennen.
State Education Commissioner Terry Holliday rallied the education troops. Holliday says federal dollars used to help turn around low performing schools are gone.
“I’m gonna pull the rug out from under 41 schools next year and several hundred teachers, we’re gonna pull the rug out from under them, because we don’t have enough money to fund excellent programs that work,” said Holliday.
Holliday says the State Department of Education will ask state lawmakers for 300 million dollars more than what’s in the current budget. He argues a sale tax on services, a utility tax, or expanded gambling could help fund education. Lexington State Representative Kelley Flood believes a grassroots campaign could convince lawmakers to raise some additional revenue.
“If we have the energy in this room translated into a statewide zeal, if you will, I think the case could be made for some form of revenue support for education,” said Flood.
Still, Flood predicts a higher tax on services or utilities will not fly during the upcoming session. Instead, she believes such levies could be added to tax reform package that could go before the general assembly in 2015.