Garrard County Schools will be closed on Friday, April 13, 2018 as many of our staff members will travel to Frankfort to advocate for our children and for public education. The House and Senate will be in session and are expected to consider whether or not to override vetoes issued by Governor Bevin. There are three key bills that are critical to public education.
Two of those are the budget and revenue bills for the upcoming biennium (HB 200 and HB 366). These bills allocate the state’s resources and set revenue structures to fund them. The Governor’s initial budget proposal included drastic cuts to education. Specifically, for Garrard County Schools, the cuts and increased costs would amount to an $850,000 loss. The Senate’s proposed budget was slightly better and the House version was by far the friendliest to public education. The budget compromise reached by the House and Senate could still be a small net loss for Garrard County Schools but is far better than the Governor’s proposal. The Governor vetoed the compromise reached by the House and Senate. We will urge the House and Senate to override that veto and the veto of the accompanying revenue bill. If no budget is passed, it is uncertain what would occur during a potential special session.
The third veto of concern relates to the “CERS Phase-In” bill (SB 362). The County Employees Retirement System (CERS) is the retirement system for our classified employees. All entities that have employees in that system were notified that the required contributions were going to increase by 50%. For Garrard County Schools, this would be an additional expense of $308,000. This would be difficult to absorb all at once. The phase-in bill would allow us to see those costs increase gradually over a number years. We will call upon the House and Senate to override the Governor’s veto.
School staff are not heading to Frankfort for selfish reasons. We are going to advocate for our children and for public education. If the massive cuts and increased costs occur, it would have a major, negative impact on what we are able to do for kids. We want to be a strong voice urging our legislators to make the right decisions for our children.