Seven state education groups have come together to ask elected officials to stop cutting public school funding.The coalition, called the Kentucky Education Action Team, announced its efforts at a news conference Wednesday in Frankfort.
Over the past four years, public schools have endured about $1 billion in funding shortfalls, the coalition reported. SEEK funding, the primary source of money for the state's public schools, has declined from $4,230 per student during the 2007-08 school year to $3,769 per student this year.
"The public hears a lot of talk about education having been ‘protected' from cuts in recent years, but that's only true on a relative level to the cuts in funding to other public services," said Bill Scott, executive director of the Kentucky School Boards Association, one of the groups in the coalition. "School funding has not gone untouched, and the public needs to understand that."
Along with the Kentucky School Boards Association, the coalition is made up of the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, Kentucky Association of School Councils, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, Kentucky Education Association, Kentucky Parent Teacher Association and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.
Leslie Peek, public relations coordinator for Bowling Green Independent Schools, is on the board of directors for the Kentucky Association of School Administrators. One of the group's top legislative priorities in the past few years has been to preserve state funding for education."It's been the same case with all these groups, so this year they've come together to lobby the legislature," Peek said.
The coalition is more effective than each group lobbying individually, she said.