Warren County Public School leader concerned about proposed funding for school staff
The superintendent of Warren County Public Schools is sharing his concerns about proposed funding for school staff under legislation sponsored by Kentucky House Republicans.
Under House Bill 6, Kentucky’s SEEK formula would increase moderately over the next two years. The formula is used to determine how much funding schools receive based, in part, on how many students are enrolled in their district. School administrators are concerned the current version of the bill does not provide enough funding to attract and retain school staff. Under the current version of House Bill 6, the per-pupil SEEK formula for funding K-12 schools would increase by 4% and 2% in the next two fiscal years.
Warren County Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton said Monday he’d like to see a larger boost to the SEEK formula.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that this won’t move the needle and the current shortage will continue,” Clayton said. “We need a significant shift in how we’re funding our schools. Roughly a decade ago, 60% of our funding was coming from the state. Now, here in Warren County, we’re at 46% of our funding is coming from the state and our local taxpayers are picking 54%.”
While staffing shortages exist across the district in all areas, there are three positions – transportation, custodial staff, and special education support staff – within WCPS that are particularly being affected due to the lack of livable wages, according to Clayton.
“Those three areas probably stand out the most, but we’re seeing it in all areas,” Clayton said. “But right now it’s literally every position has few to no applicants.”
A portion of House Bill 6 also allocates funding for local transportation costs for K-12 public school districts in the 2025-2026 fiscal year. If that measure is passed, it would be the first time in decades that the state would fully fund transportation costs.
Clayton said he is happy state lawmakers considered the costs of transportation, but those expenditures are just one piece of the puzzle.
“Right now, we are offsetting our transportation expenses of $2.4 million out of our general fund,” Clayton said. Over the last decade, that’s upwards of $20 million that our local taxpayers had to pick up. Not to mention that since 2005 we’ve not received the statutory requirement of fully funding transportation in the Commonwealth.”
Gov. Andy Beshear has proposed an 11% increase for all school staff and universal Pre-K, which would be funded in part from the state’s $3.7 billion reserve fund. Gov. Beshear has pointed to Kentucky’s record budget surplus which would allow the state to fund the universal raise for school staff. Neither of those elements are included in the Republican-sponsored bill.
House Bill 6 has been passed out of the House of Representatives and will now be reviewed and voted in the state senate.