KY Policy Blog

Why the Senate COVID Proposal Fails to Meet Kentucky’s Economic Needs

By Dustin Pugel
July 29, 2020

The new Senate aid proposal, known as the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability and Schools (HEALS) Act, falls far short of the breadth and depth of aid needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and weather the deep economic downturn. By including only 1/3 of the funds contained in the HEROES Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives back in May, it leaves out critical assistance aimed at helping laid off workers, holding off a wave of evictions, fighting hunger, and preventing harmful cuts to state and local governments. Providing inadequate read more

Kentucky Not Prepared for Next Recession

By Ashley Spalding
March 23, 2020

Amid the spread of COVID-19 and resulting business closures and layoffs, a recession is under way and could be particularly harmful in Kentucky due to the state’s failure to adequately prepare. Kentucky is among the 12 states least prepared for America’s next recession, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Kentuckians with low incomes and people of color are especially at risk of COVID-19, job losses, wage cuts, lapses in health care coverage and other resulting hardships. As a result, state responses – in read more

Kentucky Classrooms Cannot Afford to Have Resources Siphoned Away by Most Expensive Neo-Voucher Proposal Yet

By Anna Baumann
January 29, 2020

All Kentucky children – living in poor and wealthy districts, black, brown and white, whose parents didn’t finish high school and that have advanced degrees – deserve a high-quality education that will equip them to contribute fully to their community and the state’s economy. The most efficient and effective way to invest state tax dollars toward that end is to adequately and equitably fund the state’s public schools.

But House Bill 350 (HB 350) and its companion bill in the Senate (SB 110) would siphon a large and growing amount read more

Impact of Cuts to Public Higher Education in Kentucky Continues as Students Begin Classes

By Ashley Spalding
August 26, 2019

College students on campuses across Kentucky are starting a new academic year amidst the state’s continued higher education affordability challenges. With the 2020-2022 budget process around the corner in January, it’s an important time to review the impact of state budget cuts to higher education over the past decade.

As shown in the graph below, the state has cut funding for our public universities and community colleges by 35% since 2008 in inflation-adjusted terms.

And as we noted recently, some schools are experiencing deeper cuts than others. The distribution of read more

Kentucky Kids Head Back to School Amid Historically Deep Funding Cuts

By Ashley Spalding
August 14, 2019

Back to school is an exciting time for Kentucky kids and families. It’s also a time to be aware of how cuts to state funding for P-12 education are holding back kids and classrooms. Whether we begin to reverse a decade of cuts or worsen the trends will be a focus of the legislative session starting in January 2020, when decision makers will create the state budget for the next two years.

P-12 funding has been cut at historic levels

We have heard some legislators describe Kentucky’s current education funding read more

Kentucky Public Universities and Community Colleges Serving More Low-Income Students and Students of Color Receive No Performance Funds in 2020

By Ashley Spalding
July 3, 2019

New information about the distribution of performance funds for Kentucky’s public postsecondary education institutions again raises concerns about the model, particularly given its implementation in the context of continued state budget cuts. In 2020, smaller institutions and some that serve students with greater challenges to degree completion — including a greater share of low-income students and students of color — are receiving no performance funds, much like in 2019.

Among those receiving no performance monies are the state’s historically black university, Kentucky State University, and institutions serving eastern Kentucky including read more

Ways Forward for the Commonwealth

By Anna Baumann
April 25, 2019
In the coming weeks and months, Kentuckians will hear from candidates for governor about their vision and ideas for our commonwealth. KCEP’s careful analysis of Kentucky data and the research on state prosperity suggest the way to build thriving communities is to unlock potential in our people.

Currently, though, Kentucky faces barriers to doing so. There aren’t enough jobs in many places, and certainly not enough jobs that pay wages on which folks can live and raise a family. Across our state an addiction crisis, mass incarceration and waning investments read more

Private School Tax Credit Math Does Not Add Up

By Anna Baumann
March 6, 2019
Enacting a private school tax credit – as proposed in HB 205 – will harm Kentucky’s school districts by depriving them of vital funding and leaving the General Assembly with less General Fund resources to appropriate for schools and other public priorities going forward. This dangerous proposal comes at a time when Kentucky is already cutting our public schools deeply.

The national EdChoice group, which advocates for private school tax breaks across states, authored an analysis claiming HB 205 will save the state and school districts money. Their alleged savings read more

Getting Real About Base Funding for K-12 Schools

By Ashley Spalding
February 11, 2019
Ever since the new state budget passed last spring, we’ve heard claims that Kentucky’s legislature funded K-12 education at “historic levels.” Those making such claims typically point to one part of K-12 funding referred to as the “SEEK base per-pupil guarantee.” The guarantee refers to core funding for schools set at $4,000 per student in the new budget.

However, pointing to that number as evidence of increased state investment in education is inaccurate. The per-pupil guarantee is made up of both state and local funding, and while the total per-pupil read more

New Tax Break Would Subsidize Private Schools at the Expense of Kentucky Public Schools

By Anna Baumann
February 6, 2019
In the first day back for the 2019 Kentucky General Assembly after a break, members filed House and Senate bills creating a private school tax credit program in Kentucky. At a time when Kentucky’s public schools are dealing with a decade of cuts – deeper than in almost all other states – these programs would transfer a large and growing amount of public resources to private schools.

Rich tax break will be very costly for state and harm public schools

Direct public spending on private schools through vouchers is prohibited read more