'No money' as fuel rises, funding falls
...The cuts are happening in districts across the state in an array of areas, including staffing, programs, courses, textbooks, technology purchases, professional development training, athletics and new bus purchases.
Gov. Steve Beshear's plans to raise revenue through casino gambling and a cigarette tax were rejected this year in the General Assembly, and school boards are limited in the amount they can increase taxes each year. State funding for items such as professional development and extended school services has been slashed. Districts will also have to find a significant portion of the money for the 1 percent teacher pay raises each of the next two years that the Legislature has mandated.
"Never have I seen the outlook so bleak," said Ed Massey, president of the Kentucky School Boards Association and chair of the Boone County school board. "There is just no money." ...
...And then there is the fuel issue.
Kenton County has added $380,000 to its 2008-09 diesel fuel budget. Walton-Verona Schools has nearly doubled its fuel budget, from $100,000 to $190,000. Grant County Schools has tacked on $200,000, while Boone County has added $475,000, roughly 60 percent higher than this past year.
The big question now for districts is: with these rising costs and lack of increased funding - resulting in a loss of jobs, courses, programs and equipment - how do they progress and reach proficiency, which is mandated by Kentucky and the federal No Child Left Behind act, by 2014?
"That's the question we're all asking," Rye said. "There has been no change in the requirement (of reaching proficiency), but there has been a change in the availability of resources to reach that requirement." ...