Beshear outlines a plan to invest $2 billion in education in Kentucky

Frankfurt, Kentucky (WOK) – Today, Governor Andy Beshear outlined his budget plan to invest a record $2 billion in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade education.

Bashir says that with the economic growth Kentucky has experienced, it is proving to be a destination for global businesses.

The way to “meet the moment,” he says, is to invest in education to support Kentucky’s “future workforce.”

“Perhaps the most important step in ensuring that we never transform again is investing in our teachers, schools and students. We are the destination, but to remain a world-class destination for world-class companies, we must have a world-class workforce,” Bashir said at a press conference. It starts with education.”

The press release stated that the investment will be allocated to provide a comprehensive kindergarten for pre-school levels and a full-day kindergarten. The funds will also be used to fully fund student transportation at $175 million annually, and $11 million annually for statewide education with a focus on literacy and mathematical ability.

Bashir says the budget will provide $22.9 million annually to “reclaim funding for professional development as well as textbooks and educational resources.”

It will also provide $6.2 million to meet the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students. The money for mental health needs will be used to train staff at the state level and eight regional institutes of social emotional education on how to best manage students’ mental health.

There will also be two school district grant programs that provide comprehensive services for students facing, “violence, drug addiction, child abuse, parental incarceration, and other training and resources to assist students.”

This year, the governor will provide $97.4 million this year to support the renewal of 11 career and technical education (CTE) programs that were not funded last year through the Better Kentucky Plan.

The press release says that $75 million will be included in another round of renovations for more CTE centers. An additional $8 million annually to provide funding for 12 locally operated CTE centers that have not been part of Certified Funding in the past 12 years due to funding shortfalls.

The state-run district’s technical schools will receive $3.2 million in FY 2023 and $3.6 million in FY 2024.

Schools that need additional support for leadership, literacy, and numeracy will be supported through the Beshear Plan by providing $14.4 million annually to support all schools identified by the US Department of Education.

He says the scrapped library grant program will return $2.5 million annually in grants to local libraries.

The budget also proposes a five percent minimum wage increase for all school employees and a provision of $26.3 million annually for the Student Loan Forgiveness Program. The program will provide a maximum annual award of $3,000 for each year worked in a public school as a teacher.

He says there will be no increases in health insurance premiums for school staff.

An additional $6 million will be funded for Family Resources and Youth Service Centers.

Higher education will see a 12% increase in funding that will include $500 million from the General Fund, the first major funding for this in 20 years and $60 million for the Bucks for Brains program matched dollar for dollar with private donations, according to a press release.

The new Better Kentucky Promise Scholarship is for public and private high school students. This will be used for new associate’s degree and degree-seeking students

The investment will “turn two years of economic progress into 20 years of economic prosperity,” the press release said.

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