LOUISVILLE — Kentucky’s latest budget outline makes it clear that our leaders in Frankfort plan to go to great lengths to find more money for education. For communities throughout the commonwealth, this effort to restore funds for our schools is very welcomed news.
While Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear was ultimately the one to present this initiative, the efforts to restore education investments have received a strong blessing from many of our conservative leaders as well. Our schools are facing difficulty. As a result of five years of state funding cuts, many schools have faced the prospect of laying off of teachers, overcrowding classrooms, and allowing their resources and technology to deteriorate.
In our nation’s capital, the federal bipartisan agreement seeks to bring some of the same relief that our nation’s schools desperately need. The funding measure restores over $1 billion in sequester cuts to education, and prioritizes a number of early learning programs. However, funds for many critical programs either remained reduced or were kept below pre-recession levels.
Failing to restore support for areas like School Improvement grants, Promise Neighborhood grants, disability education funding, and rural education support is especially saddening because it means that less fortunate communities and their families will continue to be disproportionately harmed. These programs expand opportunities to learn for all students and are crucial for helping narrow gaps in income and achievement among our citizens.
Fostering an environment for the next generation to reach their God-given potential is a fundamental principle for those who believe in liberty. Cultivating a strong and free society must continue to be a core principle for Republicans. Achieving that end will require us to fully secure our education systems. In Kentucky, many areas have grown less reliant on traditional economic means, leaving many individuals at risk. Neglecting to properly invest in education could translate to advancing poverty, higher crime, and perpetuating the need for a social safety net.