February 19, 2016
Dear Friends of JCPS:
I wanted to let you know about an urgent matter affecting our school district. If you are a supporter of public education and the Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) District, we need you to call your legislator today to ask him or her to exempt the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) from budget cuts proposed by
Governor Matt Bevin. The Governor is acting to impose a 4.5 percent cut during the current school year, and has proposed a 9 percent cut for KDE in his 2016-2018 biennial budget recommendation.
This week, KDE Commissioner Stephen Pruitt testified before the Kentucky House of Representatives that cuts to the department would impact local school districts. If these cuts are enacted, JCPS risks losing $1.2 million this fiscal year, most of which has already been allocated for this fiscal year. In 2016-17, the Governor's proposed budget is expected to result in an additional reduction of $3.1 million. The cuts would affect early childhood education, school resources coordinators, textbooks, extended learning programs, and initiatives for gifted and talented students.
Governor Bevin also did not include a line item in his budget for $500,000 that JCPS has received since 2006. Initially, the allocation was used to ramp up the Every 1 Reads volunteer program. In 2009, then Superintendent Dr. Sheldon Berman, with approval by the Jefferson County Board of Education, expanded the program to Every 1 Reads More. Since that time, the allocation has been used to place 13 school nurses in schools with high absentee rates. A detailed allocation of those funds has been reported every quarter to KDE. The goal is to reduce absenteeism, which increases students' time in the classroom to focus on learning and literacy instruction. If the line item is not included, our district risks losing these valued professionals that care for some of our most fragile students and their health needs.
Please call (800) 372-7181 and ask legislators to restore funding cuts to the Kentucky Department of Education and our Every 1 Reads More nurses program. You may ask the operator to connect you with your representative. I also recommend contacting leadership in both the Kentucky House and Senate. After you call, please follow up with an email and reiterate that an investment in Jefferson County Public Schools and public education is in the best interest of our community and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
We appreciate your support and thank you for being advocates for Jefferson County Public Schools.