Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman highlights pay raise for Kentucky educators during stop in Bowling Green
Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman says the Beshear administration’s “Education First Plan” will benefit public school educators and students across Kentucky. Coleman spoke to a packed audience of students, educators and parents at Western Kentucky University on Tuesday evening. She was joined by former Kentucky State Rep. Patti Minter.
The Education First Plan is a proposal by Gov. Andy Beshear and Lt. Gov. Coleman. It would create an 11% pay raise for all school employees, establish universal pre-K in the state, increase public school funding for mental health resources, and secure state funds for public school transportation.
Coleman said educators are overdue for a pay raise, something she said will be a top priority for her administration.
“First and foremost we have to make sure teachers get the raise that they deserve,” Coleman said. “State employees got it, law enforcement got it, social workers got it. The only group that was taken out of those raise proposals was public educators and so they deserve to have the same kind of raise that everyone else has had over the last couple years.”
According to Coleman, Kentucky is operating on a historic budget surplus which would allow across-the-board raises for educators and the creation of a universal pre-K. Coleman noted that in the past lawmakers have pushed back against the raise in pay; now, because of the surplus, she believes lawmakers don't have an excuse to put off a pay increase for educators.
“We have the largest budget surplus we’ve ever had in Kentucky’s history,” Coleman said. “With the funding, we can give every public school educator an 11% raise and we can fund universal pre-K. For years the excuse has been, ‘Well we don't have the funding, we don’t know where it’s going to come from.’ Well now we’ve got it. And now it's time for people to put money where their mouth is.”
Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the Republican candidate for governor, announced his own education plan and said that if elected, he would raise the baseline teacher starting pay to $41,500 and focus on classroom discipline by funding more student resources officers and mental health services in schools. Cameron has been critical of Gov. Beshear, blaming a statewide drop in test scores and learning loss on his decision to shut down schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The general election is on November 7.