Some EKY superintendents asking for funding system change

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Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 4:00 PM EDT
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - Public school districts across Kentucky are currently funded through a SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky) program based on their average daily attendance.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many school districts in Eastern Kentucky have had a decrease in student attendance.

“Our attendance has been down since COVID. It was around 87% district-wide last year, and before COVID hit, the district was around 93 to 94%,” said Perry County Schools Superintendent Kent Campbell.

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Senate Bill 1 from a special legislative session in 2021 and House Bill 1 from a regular session in 2022 allowed school systems relief during the pandemic and after recent natural disasters.

The state will also help a school system financially if they see a decrease that is more than 10%.

However, some superintendents are advocating for a systematic change that would make funding based on enrollment.

“For us, we have about 2,500 students in Letcher County. So, you take 89% of 2,500, and then you multiply that by your SEEK formula, versus the total 2,500 times your SEEK base. For us, over the last year, it would be a little more than $1 million different,” said Letcher County Schools Superintendent Denise Yonts. “A million dollars goes a long way in a school district.”

With more money, Yonts says they can increase salaries and student opportunities, among many other benefits.