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Head of Kentucky Chamber Hopeful Lawmakers Will Support Pension Changes, Common Core Standards

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The head of Kentucky’s Chamber of Commerce says he’s not giving up hopes that lawmakers will fix the state’s troubled pension systems.

Dave Adkisson says his group was disappointed that the recent General Assembly failed to pass both a $3.3 billion dollar bond issue to support the pension fund for teachers, and a bill mandating an independent study of that program.

Adkisson says legislators must eventually act in order to protect not only pensioners, but also the state’s bond rating.

“If Western Kentucky University is building a new building, if you’re building a new city hall, a new courthouse, a new highway, a new dormitory—those things can cost more because the bonds are lower-rates, and the interest rates are higher.”

The teacher’s pension system only has 53-percent of the money it needs to make future payouts to about 141,000 retired teachers. Earlier this year, KTRS officials said if bonds weren’t issued, the state’s required contributions to the system would double by 2026.

Adkisson, a former mayor of Owensboro, also said Tuesday that he hopes the state’s next governor will stick with changes made to Kentucky’s academic standards.

During a visit to Bowling Green, Adkisson said the Common Core program implemented in Kentucky in 2010 will help schools create a more highly-educated workforce. He hopes it’s an issue the state’s gubernatorial candidates will debate ahead of the general election.

“Let’s stay the course, let’s make these standards work. We can improve them, and we can tweak them, but let’s make them work. So we’re listening for that from the gubernatorial candidates.”

Critics of the Common Core standards say they don’t do anything to close the achievement gap experienced by disadvantaged students, and implement a one-size-fits-all set of rules for how to teach children.

The Kentucky Department of Education is seeking public input on how to improve the implementation of the Common Core. Comments are being accepted until April 30 at this website.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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