Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday proposed a massive budget increase for Kentucky education, releasing a plan that calls on the state to fully fund preschool programs for every 4-year-old.
The Democratic governor said his budget plan includes nearly $ 2 billion in additional funding over the next two years for Kindergarten to Grade 12. Beshear revealed his education spending plans days after House Republicans beat him in by presenting their own state spending plan.
Beshear said his plan includes a 12.5% increase in per student funding under SEEK, the state’s primary funding formula for K-12 schools. That would equate to an additional $ 397 million over the next two years, he said.
One of the cornerstones of Beshear’s plan is to ensure pre-K learning for every 4-year-old in Kentucky. The cost – $ 172 million for each year of the next biennium – is “more than affordable,” amounting to a fraction of the massive state budget surplus, he said.
“It’s not just something we can afford to do, it’s something we have to do,” the governor said at a press conference. “It is a game changer.”
Beshear said his plan would also fully fund school district costs for student transportation, freeing up local funds that school districts could use for other initiatives.