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Prichard Committee outlines hopes for investment into education sector within Gov. Beshear’s budget proposal

Published: Jan. 9, 2022 at 10:55 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - “We hope to see the governor announce a big bold plan in line with our big bold ask that they invest significant dollars in Kentuckians,” said Brigitte Blom, President and CEO of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

Governor Andy Beshear is set to announce his budget proposal this Thursday, January 13, at 7 p.m.

“That budget will make historic investments in education as world-class companies deserve a world-class workforce,” said Gov. Beshear during his State of the Commonwealth address.

A Kentucky Department of Education spokesperson says those historic investments in education will be announced on Monday, in advance of the proposal’s unveiling.

Brigitte Blom and the Prichard Committee’s ‘big bold ask’ is for $1 billion to be invested into education by 2026.

“Education is the one thing that’s going to set Kentucky up to be competitive in the future when it comes to our economy,” Blom said.

When it comes to this budget, Blom says a holistic approach must be taken, starting with investment into early education.

“We know that lots of businesses and that lots of families are struggling with a lack of childcare,” said Blom.

And carrying investments all the way through to post-secondary schooling.

“The workforce of the future is going to demand some sort of certificate, credential, degree...and we must invest in increasing our educational attainment rate beyond high school,” Blom said.

Blom points out that it’s important to support not just the workforce of the future, but also the workforce that is currently educating those future workers.

“Teachers need those professional development dollars to enhance their skills in the classroom particularly in the midst of a COVID and, hopefully soon, a post-COVID environment,” said Blom.

Blom hopes the governor and the Kentucky General Assembly will come together to offer sweeping support for the education sector in both the short and long term.

“We’re in a competitive environment and Kentucky has an opportunity to make sound decisions and deepen investment in the primary input that’s going to fuel our economy into the future, and that’s our human capital – Kentuckians and our workforce,” Blom said.

Among the Prichard Committee’s asks are that taxpayer dollars currently being used to fully fund kindergarten and transportation be freed up for other important uses…and that the general assembly picks up those costs.

Blom says they are also asking for full funding for the National Board Certification to provide teachers with an additional avenue of compensation, and to support workers within Kentucky’s Family Resource and Youth Service Centers.

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