The Kentucky House Budget Committee unanimously approved placing $7 million into an emergency school loan fund.
The dollars would be available for 12 school districts facing significant losses in revenue due to a dwindling coal industry.
Lexington Representative Kelly Flood told her committee colleagues she feels the ultimate answer is raising revenues statewide.
“The most significant thing we can do is take tough votes and raise revenue for our public education system from pre-k to post graduate. That is what we can do and ought to do this year,” said Flood.
State Department of Education Associate Commissioner Robin Kinney said the 12 school districts have experienced between $100,000 and $1 million losses. If given final approval, Kinney said officials with these school systems could tap into the loan fund for up to half a million dollars this fiscal year.
“But the goal would be, if they need the money this fiscal year to make it available to them this fiscal year,” said Kindrey.
Louisville Representative Jason Nemes expressed concern the number of districts taking out loans could grow over time.
“Like I said I’m for local control, but we need to identify these school districts that might be in this kind of distress way before now,” said Nemes.
Kinney told members of the House Budget Committee the need for putting excess per pupil state dollars into this loan fund is due to a lack of local revenues, not mismanagement.