COMMISSIONER: Gov. Matt Bevin's proposed budget cuts will negati - WDRB 41 Louisville News

COMMISSIONER: Gov. Matt Bevin's proposed budget cuts will negatively impact student classrooms

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin's proposed budget cuts will hit your child's classroom -- that's the grim outlook from Kentucky's Education Commissioner.

Education Commissioner Steven Pruitt told lawmakers at the Capitol Wednesday that his department cannot absorb the cuts without affecting local school districts.

"Kentucky has really been a beacon for education," Pruitt told lawmakers.

That was the only good news that Pruitt had for these lawmakers.

"There comes that point where we have to start thinking about, are we able to sustain or improve?" he said.

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

The price tag for education is expected to be nearly $18 million this year alone.

"Personnel would be lost?" asked one lawmaker.

"We would definitely lose personnel at the department," said Robin Kinney, associate commissioner.

"Jobs would be lost?" the lawmaker asked. Kinney nodded.

But Pruitt says his office alone can't absorb those cuts. That means cutting funds for some programs that help pay for specialized teachers, school security and even textbooks.

"The reality is, no matter what the reductions are, they are going to impact our school systems in some way," Pruitt said.

The superintendent of one district in northern Kentucky put it in stark terms.

"We don't want our policymakers to get 'F's, we don't want our families to get 'F's and a schools to get 'F's because our kids get 'F's," said Jay Brewer, superintendent of Dayton Schools. 

But the committee chair says the governor's plan will not pass the House as-is.

"The amount of cuts that have been proposed are not sustainable and definitely will impact the classroom experience -- and that's something that the House will ensure doesn't happen," said Democratic Representative Kelly Flood.

The clock is ticking. The session is half over. Lawmakers have until mid-April to pass a final budget that Gov. Bevin will sign. 

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