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Nonpublic Schools Hold Key to Resolving Education Budget Cuts20 Oct

new study by the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities revealed that Kentucky has cut per-studentandy investment in K-12 schools by 11.4 percent between 2008 and 2015 after accounting for inflation.  This problem is especially significant in poorer school districts, which have been unable to make up for lost funding with local resources.

Failing to adequately invest in our students will lead to the Commonwealth falling further behind other states when it comes to ensuring that future generations are prepared to enter the workforce.  Yet, finding additional funding in the current economy will be difficult.  As a result, the Kentucky General Assembly will need to think outside of the box.  One part of the solution will be for legislators to look to Kentucky’s nonpublic schools.

Catholic and other nonpublic schools are currently educating more than 70,000 students, saving Kentucky taxpayers approximately $700 million per school year, or $1.4 billion every budget biennium. Imagine legislators trying to find an additional $1.4 billion to fund public education.

The Catholic Conference of Kentucky supports legislation that would further expand the important role of nonpublic schools in filling the funding gap.  During this past session, Rep. Terry Mills and Rep. David Floyd sponsored House Bill 141.  The bill would have created a public-private partnership for funding education.  Unfortunately, House Bill 141 did not receive the attention that it deserved.  Nevertheless, the Catholic Conference of Kentucky is confident that, with your help, this important legislation will pass in 2016.  This may seem like a long time from now, but the conversation must start today if we want to ensure that this opportunity does not slip away again.  The stakes are simply too high.

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