Education

A group representing nearly every Kentucky school district, including Jefferson County Public Schools, says the state should change its funding model established in 1990.

The Council for Better Education, a consortium of 168 Kentucky public school districts, on Tuesday released an analysis of how the Kentucky Department of Education is funded and how the agency should use its funding.

If Kentucky was to fully implement the report’s recommendations, lawmakers would have to allocate up to $2.4 billion more to public education, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association.

Here are just a few of the recommendations:

  • Fund full day kindergarten (current Kentucky policy counts students as half-day even if enrolled in full day program)
  • Expanded early childhood (preschool) programs
  • Reduced class sizes: 15 students to 1 teacher in grades K-3; 25 students to 1 teacher for grades 4-12 More teacher-tutor positions in schools, one for every 125 students on free or reduced lunch program.
  • Funding for extended day classes, depending on students on free and reduced lunch.

The report was prepared by the consulting firm PicusOdden & Associates.

The council said the way the state currently funds its public education system will not allow schools to prepare all students for college or careers.

Council President Tom Shelton told KSBA that the state’s current SEEK funding (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky), which was created in 1990 and uses a complicated formula to determine how much money school districts get, did “what it was intended to do—to address huge inequities all across the state.”

But the system does not address adequacy issues, Shelton told KSBA.

The KSBA report also said it could take five to seven years to implement all or some of the recommendations.

Here’s the full report: