Education

 

Kentucky has underfunded its public education system—including teacher salaries—with mixed results on student achievement, according to a preview of a report scheduled for release Tuesday.

A coalition of nearly every Kentucky school district is publishing the Adequacy for Excellence in Kentucky report. It’s meant to show the costs of fully funding the state’s education system.

The state’s Unbridled Learning accountability system has been praised for its college and career focus, and for implementing a new set of  federally endorsed standards known as the Common Core, which have been controversial but adopted by a majority of states nationwide.

The Council for Better Schools announced it would asked the consulting firm Picus Odden & Associates to conduct the report last year, before the state legislature added hundreds of millions of dollars to public education in the last budget.

When announcing the plans, the council and other top educators argued that Kentucky students could not meet college and career ready standards with the current funds.

The study will examine “multiple aspects of the Kentucky school finance system, including an analysis  of Kentucky’s education system with comparative states, and a series  of models based on prototypical schools and districts that allow Kentucky to determine the adequate cost of bringing to state standards,” according to a recent news release.

Kentucky adopted education reform legislation in 2009 and data from the new accountability system that was born from that has been released for the past few years. Despite funding issues, the state has been able to increase its number of students prepared for college and career.

As WFPL reported, Picus and Odden & Associates was instrumental in helping Kentucky develop the SEEK formula it uses to allocate money to local school districts, but this new study is not an analysis of that funding, the release said.

This week, the Kentucky School Boards Association reported that SEEK could have a shortfall between $12 million to $15 million for the year in the Kentucky Education Department budget. Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said this is a “very small amount” when compared to the overall budget. But the shortfall could have implications for districts that rely on the funding for their own budgets.

The council’s member districts, including Jefferson County Public Schools, chipped in to fund the $130,000 study.