FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP/WKYT) - Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andy Beshear is proposing a $2,000 across-the-board pay raise for Kentucky's teachers.
Beshear rolled out his plan Wednesday in an effort to increase the number of teachers.
"Welcome to the beginning of the end of the war on public education in Kentucky," said Beshear's running mate, Jacqueline Coleman.
He says the state should also create a student loan forgiveness program to reward educators who stay in Kentucky to teach.
Beshear, the state's attorney general, is challenging Republican Gov. Matt Bevin in the November election. Beshear has tried to capitalize on Bevin's feuds with education groups in seeking to oust the incumbent.
Beshear's plan calls for creating a pay system to ensure no starting teacher salary is below $40,000 by 2022. He says he wants to make sure all public school support staffers receive a "living wage."
“Public education is the single best way to build a better, brighter future for Kentuckians. But our teachers are under attack by this current administration. Instead of treating our educators like the professionals they are, Matt Bevin has insulted, attacked and attempted to illegally cut their pensions,” said Andy Beshear and Jacqueline Coleman in a joint note about the new plan. “A Beshear/Coleman administration will be a welcome contrast—we’ll stop the bullying and give our teachers the pay raise they deserve, which will lift up all of our communities."
Sister station WKYT reports the plan to provide immediate raises would cost the state about $84 million. Beshear says it is an investment they must make and will not be a burden on local districts.
"A budget is a values document and what you value the most you fund and that is exactly what we are going to do in our very first budget," Beshear said.
Governor Matt Bevin told WYMT Wednesday that the proposal is a great promise to make, but wants to know where the money would come from.
"So it is easy to say you are going to do something. But did he tell you where he is going to get that money from? Did he tell you where he was going to cut? Of course not. Because he is full of idle promises just like his father," Bevin said.
The governor added he hopes the money for the proposed raise would not come out of the teachers' pensions.