A group of education organizations will meet in Lexington Thursday to prepare for their campaign to better fund public education in Kentucky.
It’s the first time the various groups that make up the Kentucky Education Action Team will rally around a single message to deliver when the General Assembly convenes in January, according to Stu Silberman, executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.
“Each group will, a lot of times, go in with their individual legislative agendas and they don’t always match up. So the legislators sometimes feel like, well you all don’t even know what you want," he says.
The Prichard Committee is one of several education groups that will participate in the KEATS summit, where members will discuss funding requests and actions they can take.
It's also one of several movements happening across Kentucky centered around poor public education funding, which has remained stagnant over the past few years. But increased student enrollment means there is less per-pupil funding than before.
Silberman says representatives will take the information back to their regions and develop individual action plans to reach community members and lawmakers.
The group will be asking for around $270 million over the next two-year budget to restore funding levels to the 2008-2009 school year, which has also been the request of Education Commissioner Terry Holliday.
Holliday has called this next General Assembly budget session a "make or break" year for education funding in the state.
But public education will have to compete with other state agencies and departments that will be requesting more cash following a slow rebound from the recession.
KEAT members include the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, Kentucky Association of School Councils, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, Kentucky Education Association, Kentucky PTA, Kentucky Retired Teachers Association, Kentucky School Boards Association, and Prichard Committee.