Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday is taking a realistic, and optimistic, outlook about what Kentucky’s education system now will need to implement Senate Bill 1 (2009 Regular Session) after the announcement two days ago that Kentucky had not won any money in Race to the Top, Phase 2.
The commissioner told yesterday’s meeting in Frankfort of the School Curriculum Assessment and Accountability Committee:
“So I am saying everywhere as loud and clear as I can be heard, that I don’t think we need new dollars. I think we need redirected dollars in the state budget because new dollars are going to be difficult to find.
But, this is not a popular statement.
The state board last October started looking at ‘flow-through dollars’ – there’s $125 million that flows through the department of education for special programs that are great programs – love every one of them – but you cannot continue to run the small pilot programs for just a handful of districts when every teacher in the commonwealth needs textbooks.”
The commissioner is going to need support from legislators, who will need to refrain from loading down the education department with a lot of unfunded mandates and special, limited benefits pork projects while the education department works to bring Senate Bill 1 on line in an economical and effective manner.
Regarding the commissioner’s comment that he can make it work with existing resources, this is exactly the common-sense, frugal approach to government spending that we need to hear a lot more about in Frankfort, and not just from state educators.