House and Senate move FAST on budget decisions
Budget work is moving with unusual speed this year, with both House and Senate moving through committee action and floor votes this week on the Executive Branch budget. They approved identical plans for the education items we track. Work by a free conference committee could still bring additional changes.
For early childhood education, the House and the Senate approved fiscal 2022 spending that matches fiscal 2021 spending for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) and state preschool. The one spending increase was tobacco settlement funding for:
- A $410,500 increase in funding for early childhood adoption and foster care supports
For K-12 education, the House and Senate versions of the budget called for Department of Education fiscal 2022 appropriations to include these changes from fiscal 2021:
- A $37 million decrease in SEEK base funding
- A $14 million decrease in facilities funding
- A $17 million decrease in health insurance funding for school district employees
- An $11 million decrease in Tier 1 funding
- A $10 million increase in funding for the employers’ match for the Teachers Retirement System
K-12 education is also addressed in House and Senate action calling for:
- $66 million less than fiscal 2021’s current budget for the Teachers’ Retirement System
- $4 million more than fiscal 2021 for the School Facilities Construction Commission
For postsecondary, the House and Senate voted to add:
- $1 million for University of Kentucky in fiscal 2022 funding compared to 2021
- $4 million for the Council on Postsecondary Education
- $15 million for the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, including increases to KEES merit-based aid, CAP and KTG needs-based aid, dual credit scholarships, and work ready scholarships
The House and Senate versions did not include policy initiatives proposed by Governor Beshear, including:
- Added preschool funding for disadvantaged areas
- A $10 per student increase in the SEEK guarantee per pupil
- Raises for K-12 teachers and other school staff
- Restored funding for textbooks and other instructional materials
- New Better Kentucky Promise scholarships
- Additional funding for KCTCS and public universities
- New funding for the Broadband Deployment Fund
To see a full comparison, check out our summaries for Early Childhood, P-12 Education, and Postsecondary Education, which include proposed changes to the budget for the current 2021 fiscal year as well as other shifts in the Governor’s recommendations for 2022 spending.
The $6.5 million increase CAP needs-based financial aid by $6.5 million is a step forward on one of the seven items in the Prichard Committee’s Big Bold Ask. The House and Senate votes did not strengthen Kentucky’s investment in the other priorities in that Ask: CCAP child care, preschool, fully-funded kindergarten, fully-funded school transportation, teaching excellence, and performance-based funding for postsecondary education.
More changes are expected when the House and Senate return to session Feb. 2. A conference committee has been appointed to reconcile House and Senate difference on other areas of the budget. That group is likely to be succeeded by a free conference committee. The key thing to know about the free committee is that it has the power to propose changes even in areas where the two chambers initially agreed, including the education items shown here. In other words, the process still has room for new increases or decreases in any area of Kentucky education funding.