Hoover angry at governor over $500k incentives to districts to raise drop-out age

04/12/2013 01:24 PM

House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, sent a letter to Gov. Steve Beshear Friday questioning plans to offer incentives to school boards that choose to raise the drop out age to 18.

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday offered $10,000 to each of the first 57-school districts in the state to implement the increased drop out age. Increasing the drop out age from 16 to 18 has been a long standing goal of Beshear’s, and a bill allowing that passed the General Assembly in the 2013 session.

In the announcement earlier this week, Holliday offered the money as planning grants. But Hoover asked Beshear in a two page letter just how much money he has laying around to offer and why legislators were never told it existed.

“I find it disturbing the Commissioner of the Department of Education is offering more than $500,000 in public education funds to advance this agenda while tens of thousands of children in Kentucky are desperately in need of textbooks,” Hoover wrote to the governor. “Where is the money coming from? If KDE has, all the sudden, $500,000 dollars for this graduation initiative, how much other money is ‘laying around’ over there? If there is $500,000, all of a sudden, why hasn’t the money been used previously for essential expenditures and unmet needs such as textbooks?”

Hoover urged the governor to work with the legislature during the 2014 budget cycle and asked him to disclose the full funding available to the Kentucky Department of Education.

The governor sent Pure Politics a statement saying he respected Hoover’s concerns but supports Holliday’s efforts “to encourage school districts to adopt policies to increase the allowable drop-out age to eighteen.”

“Some school districts have expressed concerns about the coordination and planning necessary to implement the change and these small grants can help address those concerns. I understand that the money identified by the Commissioner for these grants comes from appropriations made by the General Assembly for drop-out prevention efforts, and is not money that would have been available for other purposes for schools.”


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