House passes bill offering relief to financially struggling schools

02/06/2018 03:43 PM

FRANKFORT – A bill which would allow certain financially struggling school districts to meet their expenses by being able to take out interest-free loans from excess SEEK money was passed by the House A & R committee on Tuesday.

House Bill 141, sponsored by Rep. John “Bam” Carney, R-Campbellsville, would provide loans to 12 districts, primarily in Eastern Kentucky, with significant revenue shortfalls due to circumstances beyond the district’s control or other extraordinary financial circumstances.

“Basically, this bill changes the circumstances under which a school district can request funds from the emergency revolving school loan due to circumstances like unmined coal, lower tax collection rates, in many parts of the state,” Carney said. “I have been convinced that these are not districts that are wasting money. These are districts that are legitimately in difficult financial situations due to circumstances really outside of their control.”

Rep. Kelly Flood, D-Lexington, liked the idea of additional SEEK money being used in the area of education, and not swept to other non-education agencies.

“Keeping it in education is appropriate, and having those SEEK dollars at this time go back into a loan program is also appropriate,” Flood said.

Rep. Tim Couch, R-Hyden, represents an area where one of the financially struggling districts would benefit from such a loan plan.

“Leslie County Schools has cut all they can cut,” Couch said. “ Leslie County schools travels 2400 miles with half the fleet. Their longest bus haul is a 2 hour one way, so that’s a 4 hour trip for those students in one day.”

House Bill 141 moves on to the full House for consideration.

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