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Kentucky Educators Heading to Capitol to Push for Funding for Critical School Programs

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Educators from across Kentucky will be at the state Capitol this week encouraging legislators to restore funding that’s been eliminated in the governor’s proposed budget. Gov. Matt Bevin has proposed eliminating funding for 70 state programs. More than 40 of those programs are related to education.

Wednesday is Education Advocacy Day at the Capitol, an annual event sponsored by the Kentucky School Boards Association.

Jim Flynn is superintendent of Simpson County Schools and chair of the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative that represents 43 districts.

Flynn says educators will be in Frankfort to voice concerns about the governor's proposed budget, especially the elimination of funding for textbooks, professional development and transportation.   

“We’re still going to have to find a way to provide instructional materials, right? We’re still going to have to find a way to train our teachers. We’re still going to have to transport our students. And so it looks to me like the state is simply transferring that cost and responsibility to the local community.”

Flynn says unless funding  for critical education programs are returned to the state budget, local districts will have to make some difficult choices.

“We’re either going to have to cut programs and services to our kids, or we’re going to have to go to the local community and say, ‘Would you all support a tax increase so we can maintain these things because the state’s cut them’,” said Flynn.

Many educators say Kentucky must make education a priority because having quality schools is the most important element in attracting new businesses to the state.

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Rhonda Miller began as reporter and host for All Things Considered on WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans. She has worked at Rhode Island Public Radio, as an intern at WVTF Public Radio in Roanoke, Virginia, and at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rhonda’s freelance work called Writing Into Sound includes stories for Voice of America, WSHU Public Radio in Fairfield, Conn., NPR and AARP Prime Time Radio. She has a master’s degree in media studies from Rhode Island College and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Rhonda enjoys quiet water kayaking, riding her bicycle and folk music. She was a volunteer DJ for Root-N-Branch at WUMD community radio in Dartmouth, Mass.