Ky. superintendents discuss COVID-19 and school impact during committee meeting in Frankfort

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 3:32 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The education budget is being called a major obstacle by state leaders. Senator Max Wise says he believes education has been the hardest hit sector.

Representatives listened to presentations from superintendents who have gone back to a hybrid in-person learning model, or are hoping to get there in the next couple of weeks.

Each gave updates on some of the successes they’ve had this school year, and the many more challenges.

Senator Wise spoke up during the meeting, saying the way representatives look at education will forever be changed because of the pandemic.

Wise says the challenge for the Education Committee now will be finding more funding for school districts across the state. Superintendents informed the committee on extra expenses, from machines to deep clean schools to all of the Chromebooks and technology they’ve had to purchase.

“We’ve done some tax reform but we have to look again at doing some of those types of things. Abilities to raise money," Wise said. "We know in some communities it comes down to property taxes, and things such as that. And that’s not been a great source of wealth for some of these smaller communities that are out there.”

Wise says the Education and Appropriation and Revenue Committees will have to work together with school district leaders to find a solution to increase the budget.

Whitley County Schools Superintendent John Siler said he hopes they can start in-person learning in the next week or so. The county has been in the ‘red zone.’

Siler says they’re already seeing gaps in math and language skills. 70 percent of parents in the county say they want to return to in-person learning.

“Children’s mental health gets affected, parents' mental health gets affected. And I can say for my daughter, she’s at the point right now, the one’s who’s a senior, she’s saying ‘Dad, I’m ready to get over this’.”

Siler says the numbers are starting to go down, which may allow them to bring students back.

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