LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin announced his proposed budget Tuesday and criticized Jefferson County Public Schools for their use of the fund budget and the number of their employees who make $100,000 or more.
The district replied Wednesday that they have concerns over Bevin's proposed cuts.
"One of my top priorities has been returning funds to our schools and classrooms where we can have the most direct impact on increasing student learning," Acting Superintendent Marty Pollio said. "I am concerned that last night's proposals could significantly impact our progress."
Pollio also challenged Bevin's claim that JCPS employees who make six figure salaries do not work with students.
"As we've been reviewing administrative costs and returning more dollars to schools, I know as a former principal how important it is to have quality administrators supporting our students. Of the employees recently referenced, 63% of those work in our schools with students full-time. They are principals, assistant principals, counselors, school psychologists and nurses who interact with students every day," Pollio refuted.
While 70 programs, including many education-related programs face budget cuts, Sam Corbett, Executive Director of the Jefferson County Public Education Foundation said the state's education will benefit in the proposed plan.
"The fact that the governor is making a commitment under this whole child welfare umbrella I think ultimately benefits a system like JCPS because honestly, I'd suggest the majority of children who are dealing with these issues if they live in Jefferson County they're going to a Jefferson County public school," he said. "Is it the perfect situation we all would have wished for? Of course not. But the governor made the commitment prior to being elected to deal with the pension crisis and so I applaud the administration for taking that issue on. But as we said that's going to require some sacrifices."
JCPS provided the following information in response to the governor's critique of JCPS:
- Current fund balance is $153 million, $23 million of which is already assigned for expenditures. Fund balance is just below the nationally recognized recommended level for a district of its size and budget. A lower reserve fund affects bonding capacity and credit rating, which impacts the district's ability to renovate and build schools.
- The proposals mentioned Tuesday night would cut at least $25 million from the district's budget, which is in addition to the $17 million in new pension plan costs.
- JCPS administrators are at or below the salary levels for peer districts of similar sizes across the country, including Charlotte, San Diego, Baltimore, and Austin.
- JCPS salary percentages are in line with other large districts in Kentucky.