Jamiesfeast – Kentucky House Republicans have put forth a revised budget plan that was approved by a committee on Wednesday. The plan aims to have the state cover a larger portion of the expenses for student transportation in K-12 schools.
The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee’s decision paves the way for a full House vote on the primary budget legislation, which encompasses the state’s executive branch. This crucial vote may take place as early as Thursday.
Republican House leaders have highlighted the comprehensive nature of the measure, stating that it addresses both present needs and the future prospects of Kentucky. They have emphasized the bill’s extensive investments in vital areas such as education, infrastructure, public safety, and human services.
Committee Chair Jason Petrie emphasized that the ongoing efforts of the committee align with their mission of delivering essential state government services and ensuring that every dollar spent brings maximum benefits to all residents of Kentucky. He further emphasized that the committee’s focus is not on gaining political advantage or catering to specific political interests.
The level of state support for the costs to transport K-12 students to and from school saw a significant change.
The state will fully cover 100% of the costs for student transportation in the second year of the biennium in the version that is going to the House floor. In the first year of the two-year budget cycle, which starts on July 1, the state will cover 80% of those expenses. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear has proposed in his budget plan that the state should fully fund student transportation costs in both years.
The House committee remained steadfast in its commitment to providing teacher pay raises.
The House GOP plan does not incorporate the guaranteed pay raises requested by Beshear for educators and other public school employees. Instead, the plan encourages school districts to utilize the extra state funding to provide salary increases, with the decision on the amount of raises resting in the hands of local administrators.
Governor Beshear is advocating for an assured 11% salary increase for teachers, as well as other public school workers like bus drivers, janitors, and cafeteria staff. He believes that raising teacher salaries is crucial in order to enhance Kentucky’s competitiveness with other states. According to the governor, Kentucky’s average teacher starting pay and average teacher pay are currently among the lowest in the nation.
Lawmakers are prioritizing the creation of a budget this year, and the recent action taken by the House is a significant step towards achieving this goal. Once the budget measure is approved by the House, it will then be sent to the Senate, where it will undergo further modifications to shape state spending for the next two fiscal years. The final version of the budget will be refined through collaboration between House and Senate leaders in a conference committee. It’s worth noting that both chambers of Congress are currently dominated by Republican supermajorities.