Educators don't have budget for next school year

By: Ashley Reynolds Email
By: Ashley Reynolds Email

Educators across the state are preparing to do more with less.

Lawmakers ended the legislative session without a budget and officials are getting ready for next year, preparing for the worst.

Educators say this is extremely difficult because they have no indication of how soon, or if, a budget will come.

Officials say they will likely have to lay off some teachers and cut back on programs, but at this point, nothing is certain.

Linda Leach, a teacher at Middlesboro High School agrees with lawmakers ...that all Kentucky students should excel, but she wants those in charge to read between the lines.

"When they tell us that, then they take money from us... Our kids don't have a chance if we don't have the money to prepare them," said Leach.

"I'm very disappointed that the house and senate could not get together and make a compromise... that's what they are elected to do," said Middlesboro superintendent Rita Cook.

She says her district is planning for the worst case scenario which includes letting more than one dozen staff members go, cutting school days, and a spending freeze.

"No matter what happens we are going to continue with school and do the best we can. It's a very difficult time," said Cook.

Bell County school officials are also drafting several plans, but say they have nothing to work with.

"When there is a reduction in revenues... you want to trim the fat. There is no fat left to trim. We have trimmed the fat a long time ago and we are now at the bone," said George Thompson, superintendent of Bell County Schools.

Educators say this situation won't just hurt students.

"This is not just a bad thing for our schools... it's a bad thing for our community as well," said Cook.

If lawmakers meet for a special session, educators might get a budget in the next few months.

Harlan County Schools are also making plans to cut more than one million dollars, remove a few school days from the calendar, and furlough some staff.

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