Dear Burgin School Family:
It’s been a tumultuous couple of months for the education community. Tensions surrounding the various pension reform proposals, a constricted state budget, proposed unfunded mandates, and a rash of school violence tragedies nationwide have left educators and students raw.
Earlier this month, our Kentucky House of Representatives passed a budget proposal that is now in the Kentucky State Senate. Despite its ups and downs, the House budget made significant investments by funding SEEK at its highest per pupil level to date and returning the Transportation funding removed by the Governor’s proposal to its current level. It also restored the Family Resource Youth Service Center (FRYSC) funding that helps so many of our families across the Commonwealth, funds the required contribution to KTRS, and fully funds health coverage for retired teachers through the next biennium. This was neither a small task nor a small victory.
That’s not to say that it was perfect; several critical programs did get cut, among them funds for textbooks, professional development for teachers, and teacher internship programs that help with recruitment and retention of new teachers. These are critical programs and products for learning; the districts will have to pay for them whether the state is willing to or not. Ultimately, this means local districts will have to find more money to make up for the dollars the state decided not to invest in public education. Meanwhile, state lawmakers may still take up pension reform and/or charter school funding, items that will draw more dollars out of state coffers.
It’s time to support public education, public educators, and public students. The atmosphere is out of order. Teachers need to be supported and feel supported, both in their retirements, their healthcare, their classroom resources, and their continued development training. They need to be respected for their craft – a difficult task that develops with each day. They need to be prepared and equipped to handle the emotional trauma that occurs in their classrooms each time an act of school violence hits the news, near or far.
If they do nothing else, the state legislature is constitutionally required to pass a state budget before the General Assembly ends April 13, but that budget will likely move much sooner. That means the time is now. With less than ten legislative days left in the 2018 legislative session, I ask that you stand and support your teachers by calling our state legislators and asking them to fully fund public education. The quality and safety of our educational system relies upon adequate and full funding.