Education is the most important issue facing Kentucky. It saddens and angers me that Kentucky's public schools, colleges and universities are denied the resources they need to serve young Kentuckians. It's NOT true that statewide education funding has been "protected" over the past decade. It's NOT true that Jefferson County Public Schools get a fair deal from the state. These popular fictions hide the fact that we're not investing enough in our children's future. I went to duPont Manual High School and was prepared for college and beyond. I will fight to make sure all of our children have the same opportunity.
We're also shortchanging our teachers. The SEEK formula, which provides basic school funding, does a disservice to JCPS, the state's largest school system, and so does the current stingy state approach to helping JCPS finance student transportation. At another level, we dump heavier and heavier tuition demands on the backs of students at our public campuses. And we don't even give these campuses the money they need to do proper maintenance on their buildings. We won't even let these institutions bond construction that they can finance out of project-generated revenues. Education funding at all levels is inadequate. Just ask former Majority Leader David Karem, who was instrumental in writing and passing the historic Kentucky Education Reform Act. David is supporting me. He'll tell you that we MUST fund the excellence we want for Kentucky's school kids. To do that, we need a modern, fair approach to revenue that broadens the tax system's reach while also lowering rates. You can't buy first rate education, or effective government, on the cheap.
Unless we renew our commitment to education, we cannot move forward in other areas. A better educated population will be healthier, more employable, and less incarcerated. This will save the State money in Medicaid, prison costs, and help us lure new companies and jobs to Kentucky. That is why our universities, teachers, and business leaders are all clamoring for our state officials to invest in education.