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Budget cuts may force schools to close

Robert Moore
Herald Staff

The deep cuts in education proposed by Gov. Matt Bevin could possibly force 120 of the 173 school districts in Kentucky into financial insolvency, school officials say. (Photo Submitted)

Proposed budget cuts at the state level will force local schools to make some hard decisions over the next several years.

It might even force some school districts to insolvency. There are currently 173 school districts in Kentucky. If the budget cuts go into effect, 120 of them—including Mercer County—would become financially insolvent within two years, according to figures provided by school officials.

“Huge sections of the state are going to be left insolvent,” said Mercer County School Superintendent Dennis Davis. “Once a school is insolvent, you close the doors.”

Through budget cuts, canceled contracts and increases in employees’ pension contributions, House Bill 200, the budget proposal currently being considered by the state House of Representatives, would cost Mercer County Schools $1.6 million, according to figures provided by District Finance Officer Amber Minor.

The proposed budget includes a half million dollar cut in funding for transportation and the total elimination of funding for the Mercer Day Treatment program as well as for text books and teachers’ professional development.

On top of that, expenses—contributions the District makes toward the County Employee Retirement System and state mandated increases for employees’ salaries—would go up.

Legend above map indicates:

yellow = counties/school systems that would be insolvent in FY19 if CERS & SB200 are enacted.

green = counties/school systems that would be insolvent in FY20 if CERS & SB200 are enacted.

white = counties/school systems that could survive at least two years if CERS & SB200 are enacted.

To learn more, check out next week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.


  1. Jeremy Dial on February 23, 2018 at 12:34 am

    I didn’t vote for him anyway, he is money hungry and I bet you take away his fancy house, vehicles and tailored suits and it would be enough to keep a few schools running a few more years. These politics run because the money. They say they are gonna do this and that when in reality all they have in mind are themselves and what they can make or screw our state out of!

  2. Kimberly Gilliam on February 23, 2018 at 8:46 am

    You all don’t care about our children because yours will be in high priced private schools!????????????

  3. SHIRLEY R BERNARD on February 23, 2018 at 10:06 am

    Why do we treat our children like this and our teachers while the rich get tax breaks and get richer. This is going to take a big hunk out of budget which will probably cut monies that could go to schools and their programs-like feeding the poor kids and helping teacher with supplies. Get real workers are not going to see a big increase in paychecks and what they do will be taken away from them on something else.

  4. Gary white on February 23, 2018 at 11:20 am

    There are to many school district in this state! Same goes with courthouses and jails! All should be consolidated! It’s crazy to have school districts with only a few hundred students! County courthouses could be consolidated into districted! State laws are to same everywhere! Local ordinances and laws can be readily available via internet for education tools for assistance of customer! Jails can be made regional!

  5. Stephanie on February 23, 2018 at 2:13 pm

    If this bothers you or worries you, please get involved. Call your Legislatures and ask about it.

  6. Troy L. Daniel on February 24, 2018 at 1:58 am

    Someone needs to investigate the state government to see where all that money is going if it’s not going to the schools.

  7. Debra Ezzell on February 24, 2018 at 7:23 am

    Tax reform is desperately needed and our leaders refuse to address it in any way. They have money to train and arm teachers but not money for Day Treatment where the most difficult kids get treatmen including counseling for mental health issues. No money for textbooks or buses but money for bullets? Of course their re-election is their main concern. They can retire from their part time job with a full pension for life. The only way to change this is to VOTE!

  8. journo on February 24, 2018 at 8:27 am

    Could you make the map a little smaller?

  9. Reba Scott on February 24, 2018 at 11:08 am

    So according to this map ALL but about 30 districts out of 173 will be insolvent in 2 years forcing them to close??!! I don’t think so. There’s no way ANYONE, in government or elsewhere, is going to allow this to happen. There could possibly be some consolidation among smaller districts (ours, Carlisle County, being one) but total closure of schools WITHOUT the option of an alternative is NOT going to happen. Because of the financial irresponsibility of former administrations our present governor is having to make some very tough decisions or continue to let things slide. And he is too financially conscious to let that happen! I admire him for trying to straighten out a mess that would eventually bankrupt our commonwealth.

  10. Tim McGinnis on February 24, 2018 at 11:41 am

    It is so obvious that our public schools and school districts are at crisis levels. Apparently, the leadership in Frankfort is not committed to our children and their education. It appears some want our schools to fail in order to move their agenda. Our universities are also struggling to provide needed services and programs for our students. Now if we want to focus on just 10-15% of our youth, then continue to shift available, but limited resources to charter schools and ultimately vouchers (tax dollars for private schools). I believe this is the ultimate goal of some of our elected officials.

  11. Elaine Reid on February 25, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    What happen to the lottery money and taxes people having to pay in one each house hold bill we pay every month and our property taxes we pay every year there’s enough money to keep the school’s open if they would stop spending on nonsense and paying the superintendent more than he or she deserves a hundred thousand is way to much for someone setting on there butts all day for nothing ii mm just guessing on the wages it could be more.

  12. J Walker on February 25, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    Am wondering how much financial savings would be realized with the elimination of school sports? In the smaller, poorer communities in KY where participation in sports requires buses, equipment, coaches salaries, fuel and insurance this might be a substantial cut. We don’t want to see people lose their jobs but if the budget cuts become fact lost jobs will become fact. I remember when my child was in grade school mothers signed up to be classroom assistants. The mothers assisted one or two days and other mothers took the other days. It worked out very well and mothers were not assisting in their child’s room. If it becomes necessary we will work it out. There are plenty of parents who care about their child’s education and will be happy to help. Include me in. Ms Walker

  13. Pam Street on February 26, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    WV Strong. We support Kentucky education!!

  14. Jennifer on February 27, 2018 at 1:27 am

    The message is clear; education doesn’t matter, especially not education for the poor. Schools close; children who grow up in counties that cannot afford these infeasible budget cuts will have less opportunities to grow and become successful members of the community. Any one holding off that votes in favor of House Bill 200, ought to completely ashamed of themselves and had ZERO business holding a public office. GET THEM OUT. Flip the house.

  15. Cookie Middleton on February 27, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    What happened with all the money from the lottery sales? At it’s inception, it was touted to be the golden ticket for schools. That teaches would no longer have to buy their own supplies. That the money would be there when schools needed supplies or equipment. What a joke. The governor and all the cronies we elected have done nothing but run us in a hole. They live in million dollar homes, use private planes to fly to places it would take a few hours to drive, have the best healthcare, take elaborate vacations, and still, want more. They’re glutenous pigs.

  16. Derrick Poff on February 27, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    So why can’t a state sales tax be passed? Say 10% and reduce our state income tax or cut it out all together. This way, everyone in the state or even passes thru will pay their fair share of the theft performed by former governors and current and past legislators! Our legislators need not to worry about taxing everyone and them not getting re-elected because if they pass SB1 passes then they will not get re-elected anyway!!

  17. Christopher Tobe on October 31, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    This is a strategy from GovBevin combining budget cuts with a CERS pension policy designed to push school districts, cities, counties into bankruptcy

  18. Maxine Bye-Cotton on April 7, 2019 at 11:38 am

    The importance/value/necessity to inform the residents of Kentucky…about the contribution of $18 million donated to his friend(the owner of the Ark) as soon as he accepted the Governorship without reviewing any budgets…. needs to bring to light….his actions of the for the great Commonwealth of KY.
    Please help me support what belongs to our fellow Kentuckians. Wish we could hit every paper in Kentucky!
    Teachers are teaching our children, libraries where we learn, pools gift the entire community, affordable health care for, etc.

    Thank you,
    Maxine Bye-Cotton

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