Superintendents across the state are reacting to governor Matt Bevin’s proposed cuts to transportation spending for school districts. The proposal would require local districts to cover 75 percent of those costs--much more than the 42 percent they pay now.
Pulaski County Superintendent Steve Butcher, is concerned that the proposed cuts would make it difficult to get kids to school.
Pulaski County is geographically the third largest district in the state. Butcher said Pulaski County has about 140 bus routes and many of those are in more rural areas, where kids especially need help getting to school. He thinks the only way his district could reduce its transportation costs is to cut back on bus routes.
“The people that live the farthest out from our schools are the ones that need the transportation the most in most cases,” he said. “And so, we can’t hurt kids by not picking them up.”
Butcher said the school district is already struggling to pay transportation costs as the budget is now, and any cuts will hurt opportunity for kids. Governor Bevin is suggesting that school districts pay for the cuts by dipping into their reserve funds, and by cutting administrative costs by 12 percent.
Daviess County Schools superintendent Matt Robbins, pointed out that all school districts are required to provide transportation to students that live a mile or more from the school.
Governor Bevin said the cuts are needed to put money into the state’s ailing pension plan. But Robbins said he’s not sure why a choice needs to be made between funding schools and fixing the pension.
“I think we have to do both, I don’t see why we’ve gotta make a choice in terms of the investment into education as well as the investment into pensions,” he said.
Robbins said education should be viewed as an investment. But he thinks it’s being increasingly viewed more as a cost.