Superintendent demands additional funding for WCPS

Superintendent Rob Clayton says unless a change is made, WCPS and other school districts across the Commonwealth could suffer the consequences.
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 5:51 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Since the COVID-19 pandemic, funding has been a consistent issue for many Kentucky school districts, including Warren County Public Schools (WCPS).

With a $10,000 decrease in teacher pay statewide over the last seven years and a revenue surplus of $1.3 billion in the state budget, WCPS is wanting answers as to why they are not receiving additional funding.

They have seen an increase in enrollment totaling over 600 new students. That equates to nearly $3 million in funding for the students alone, but WCPS is still being funded based on attendance records from 2019.

“I find it difficult to understand why there would not be funding provided to educate the 600-plus students in our district,” said Rob Clayton, superintendent of Warren County Public Schools.

The Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) Formula provides additional funding to growth districts when a school grows each year.

According to the SEEK Formula, WCPS should receive additional funding but have not since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When you are the fastest growing district, and you are being funded based on the average daily attendance of the 2019-20 school year, the numbers are not going to add up,” said Clayton.

He delivered a message to WCPS employees explaining the funding crisis the district is facing, urging them to reach out to local lawmakers.

Clayton said the money they are owed under the SEEK Formula is essential to educating their students.

“We need our House and Senate leaders to fully understand the impact of losing the $3 million necessary to cover the expenses of new staff and resources that we have added to educate our additional students,” said Clayton in a video message to WCPS employees.

Governor Andy Beshear said that the money is available in the state budget and that the public school system is the best investment the Kentucky Legislature can make.

He is also urging lawmakers in the General Assembly to provide more funding to school districts like WCPS.

“Right now, the General Assembly is saying that they are not going to provide that additional funding. I think that is wrong, and I think they should reconsider,” said Beshear.

Clayton went on to say in his video message unless a change is made and additional funding is provided, WCPS and many other school districts could suffer the consequences.

“It is going to have a dramatic, negative impact on our ability to continue to deliver the quality of education that our community deserves, our students deserve, and we are committed to upholding,” said Clayton.

The Kentucky Legislature implemented a funding stabilization plan designed to prevent a decrease in funding for school districts experiencing a decline in enrollment.

Clayton said legislators did not take into account growth districts like WCPS.