school funding

Tre’ Sexton, courtesy Bluegrass Solar

Arlie Boggs Elementary sits between Kentucky’s two tallest mountains in a remote area that once had a booming coal economy. Ten years ago there were over a thousand coal miners employed here in Letcher county. Today, there are just 28.

“We were left with many unemployed miners,” eighth-grader Nicholas Sturgill said, as he and two classmates gave a presentation to a small crowd of students and teachers at an education summit in Pikeville, Kentucky.

“Paying bills had become a hardship for many. We wondered what we could do to reduce costs in our homes and our schools,” he said.

A group representing nearly all of Kentucky's school districts is planning a study that could show lawmakers that school funding needs to be restored.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Council for Better Education is raising money for the $130,000 study, which could begin Dec. 1.

Council president Tom Shelton says the study would design an equitable and adequate funding system to allow all students to become college- and career-ready.

The SEEK program, the primary source of money for school districts, has remained flat while schools have seen increases in the number of students and average daily attendance figures. That caused the amount of funding per student to slip from $3,866 in 2009 to $3,827 this year.

Flexible focus funds -- which include textbooks, preschool and staff development -- also have dropped.

Sumner County, Tennessee students will start classes Thursday, following a nearly two week delay over school funding issues. The issue was resolved at last night’s meeting of the Sumner County Board of Education.