Education

A new report by the progressive Kentucky Center for Economic Policy says continued state budget cuts to education over the years have hurt Kentucky’s preschool-grade 12 students.

The report surveyed school districts across the commonwealth. Districts that participated represent more than 74 percent of students in Kentucky.

Divestment in P-12 education has led to fewer days on the school calendar and fewer dollars spent on health services, according to the report. Districts also reported reductions in staff and lack of funds for staff raises.

Schools surveyed in the report said the inability to give raises means schools can’t attract high-quality staff. They also said it’s bad for morale.

In 2017, the average salary for a teacher in Kentucky was nearly $53,000. That’s up from more than $46,000 in 2008. The report said that in most districts, the average salary actually declined when adjusted for inflation.

The majority of the participating districts said staffing has been the most affected by state budget cuts. 

Other effects of cuts to Kentucky school districts since 2008, per the report:

  • 35 percent of districts surveyed have cut art and music programs
  • 25 percent of districts have reduced or eliminated career and technical education
  • 42 percent of districts have reduced supports such as after school, summer school 
  • 14 percent have reduced special education services
  • 34 percent of districts have induced or increased fees for extracurricular activities