Beshear Proposing Education Spending Boost

Gov. Beshear announced the proposed increases, but it'd require a 5% cut for most state agencies.
For years, Kentucky educators have seen their budgets cut. Now, Governor Steve Beshear proposes major increases to education funding in his new budget. But this plan will come at a cost.

For years, Madisonville Community College's planned post-secondary education center's only existed on paper.

"The architects have been hired," says Dr. Judith Rhoads, President of Madisonville Comm. College. "The plans have been developed."

The only thing missing: the money to build it.

"This building will finish our campus from a looks standpoint and management.," says Ray Gillaspie of Madisonville Community College.

But if lawmakers approve Governor Beshear's proposed two-year budget, they'll have that missing piece: $15 million in bonds to pay for construction.

"Getting the building helps us move much more rapidly," Rhoads says.

It's one of several educational programs that could benefit. Beshear's proposing major funding boosts for educational programs and projects. Nearly $190 million for the SEEK program, nearly $100 million to replace aging schools, and another $145 million in bonds issued to fund projects at state community colleges.

"We're always pleased when K-12 gets support because we get their students and want them to be well prepared and we want a strong educational system and a career path for our region," Rhoads adds.

But other state programs could miss out because of it. Beshear's budget also 5% cuts for many state agencies in their first year, but none in the second.  Meanwhile, Rhoads says more educational funding means students and western Kentucky won't miss out.

"They will see it through economic development efforts, through new businesses coming in, through new industry coming in, more jobs and more people to fill those jobs who are very well qualified," she says.

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