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Group Raises Money To 'Prove' Kentucky's Education System Needs More Money


The Council for Better Education is asking its members to help fund another study to demonstrate how Kentucky’s education system is being underfunded.

This time, the study would show the cost of fully implementing the state’s 2009 education reforms that have been in place for two years, said council president and Fayette County Public Schools superintendent Tom Shelton.

The council--which represents 169 of Kentucky's 173 school districts--will ask Picus Odden & Associates to conduct the report. Shelton said the group was also instrumental in helping Kentucky develop the SEEK formula it currently uses to allocate money to local school districts.

“They’re experts in the field and use scientific and measurement tools to look at what it costs to educate students to reach certain standards or certain levels," he said.

Shelton said the council has produced several of these studies before, but now it wants to consider how new college-and-career readiness and other academic indicators under the new Unbridled Learning accountability system are being stifled by a lack of state funding.

The council is one of several groups who have expressed their urgency with public education funding this year (Education Commissioner Terry Holliday called it a "make or break year" for funding) and it will likely bring up the issue during next year’s legislative session when lawmakers set the biennium budget.

But Shelton said the study won’t be completed for months.

“We started looking at it this summer but we didn’t have the funds and the ability to conduct the study at that time. So that’s why we’re under this effort now, trying to raise funds to do so," he said.

The council is asking its member districts to voluntarily chip in 25 cents per student to fund the $130,000 study, Shelton said.

He adds the study will likely prove what many educators have been saying for a while: that education is suffering because a lack of funding.

Freelance reporter and producer Devin Katayama has joined WFPL News as a general assignment reporter. His hiring is the third addition to the newsroom since March and is part of Louisville Public Media’s strategic plan to fill the growing void in local news.
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