School Funding

Kentucky school districts devastated by tornadoes ask for help

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Superintendents in western Kentucky school districts affected by the December tornadoes this week called for an extended freeze on a school funding formula that links average daily attendance to money .

What would you like to know

  • West Kentucky Superintendents Seek Funding Help
  • They ask authorities for a prolonged freeze on the SEEK formula
  • That links average daily attendance to money
  • Maintaining the freeze would allow schools to retain pre-pandemic funding while working on reconstruction following the tornadoes

The program known as Support Education Excellence in Kentucky allocates public funds to local school districts for costs that include transportation and assistance to low-income students with special needs. The formula was already frozen due to school disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The General Assembly this year passed a bill authorizing districts to use attendance data for the 2018-2019 or 2019-2020 school years to calculate average daily attendance for the year 2021-2022.

District leaders in storm-ravaged areas virtually met with Education Commissioner Jason Glass this week and said they would like to see the freeze extended for up to five more years, the Paducah Sun reported. This would allow them to continue to be funded at pre-pandemic levels while working on reconstruction.

Otherwise, they could see a massive drop in funding.

“Mayfield is a town of 10,000 people that just has no housing,” said Mayfield Independent Superintendent Joe Henderson. “It’s not like you can move across town and find accommodation. There is no accommodation to be had here.

Henderson said an extension of the SEEK funding formula would provide the school district with “safety cover.”

Dawson Springs Independent Superintendent Leonard Whalen echoed Henderson’s concern.

“In reality, it’s probably going to be a three or four year cleanup effort, and then there will be people who start to rebuild,” Whalen said. “I have staff who have lost everything, and local contractors tell them it takes two years before they can even start rebuilding their homes.