Gov. Beshear unveils education budget plan

Governor Andy Beshear said he’ll announce historic investments in education on Monday.
Governor Andy Beshear said he’ll announce historic investments in education on Monday.(WKYT)
Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 9:41 AM CST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Governor Andy Beshear will be unveiling his full budget proposal later this week, but Monday he gave us a better picture of his educational priorities.

The state’s lawmakers have begun negotiations on a state budget.

It’s been common for lawmakers and the governor to bicker over the state budget, but usually that happens later in the session.

“If this is just viewed as, who has how much power, we are never going to advance. Just because you have the power to do something doesn’t mean you should,” Gov. Andy Beshear said.

Last week the House filed their spending plan before the governor’s traditional budget address. They say it contains record education spending. On Monday Gov. Beshear said he wants something not included in that House bill-- preschool for all Kentucky 4-year-olds.

“And let me tell you, early learning is not just critical, with our current budget outlook it is more than affordable. It’s less than 8% of the budget surplus we have,” Gov. Beshear said.

Both the House and Governor Beshear’s proposals include funding for all-day kindergarten. Both also say they are spending more on classrooms. But the process is creating some controversy. Beshear said the governor has always presented the executive branch budget first, then the General Assembly adopts it with modifications.

“We should follow the same process that every General Assembly has followed with every governor, Democrat or Republican,” Gov. Beshear said.

The House budget bill comes after leaders say they spent months meeting with public and private stakeholders. And they say they are proposing a record amount of education spending.

House Speaker David Osborne said Saturday it would be a waste of time to wait on the governor, while the governor said more than precedence is being broken.

“Drafting an executive branch budget without the knowledge or help of the executive branch itself is unprecedented, it’s unprovoked, it’s unwise, and perhaps even unlawful,” Gov. Beshear said.

The governor said he is proposing a 5% raise for all school staff. House leaders said their plan frees up more funding for local districts to hand out their own raises

House Speaker Osborne said he will withhold comment on what the governor said Monday until his entire budget proposal is release, but said the final budget still needs consideration of the governor, the state Senate and a conference committee to work out difference.

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