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Pruitt: Increasing Local Tax to Offset State Budget Cuts Not Feasible for School Districts

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt said increasing local taxation to offset state budget cuts would not be a feasible option for many school districts.

Pruitt offered testimony Wednesday before the House Budget Review Subcommittee. Pruitt said certain rural districts are already living “paycheck to paycheck.”

“There are certainly districts, they have been hit by the unmined mineral, they’ve been hit by hemorrhaging of students leaving the area, property taxes are low or collection rates are low,” said Pruitt.

Governor Bevin’s budget recommendations call for preserving formula per student funding, but shifts many transportation and insurance costs to local districts.

House Education Committee Chairman John “Bam” Carney said a band aid approach might be establishing a loan pool, where districts could borrow up to $500,000.

“In some regards we may be trying to put some band aids on some of these budget issues to help these schools float for another year, while we can come back and look at some of these things to do tax reform,” said Carney, “Because it will be tough to get done before the end of the session.”

The education committee chair said the vast majority of school districts across the Commonwealth are responsibly using the tax money allocated for their operation.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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