FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Department Education Commissioner Steven Pruitt told state lawmakers Wednesday that his department cannot absorb $18 million in cuts this fiscal year without affecting local school districts.

While Gov. Matt Bevin's budget plan does not touch basic funds for education but it does call for cuts to all agencies, including the Kentucky Department of Education -- 4.5 percent this year and 9 percent over the next two years.

"Personnel would be lost, jobs would be lost," Pruitt told lawmakers.

And Pruitt says his office, which has an operating budget of only $25 million -- can't absorb those cuts alone. That means cutti funds for some programs that help pay for specialized teachers, school security and textbooks.

In Jefferson County Public Schools, the state's largest district, it would mean a loss of $1.9 million.

“JCPS is concerned about the proposed budget cuts to the Kentucky Department of Education," said Allison Martin, communications director for JCPS. "We expect the proposed cuts at the state level would be a loss of about $1.9 million to JCPS, which funds early childhood education, textbooks and school resource coordinators.”

Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached @tkonz on Twitter or at (502)585-0838.

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