K-12 and higher education top priority list for more funding, says House budget chairman

07/01/2013 07:33 AM

Any extra state revenue for the next several years will mostly go toward education and restoring money to health programs, such as daycare stipends, that have been cut, said Rep. Rick Rand, the House Democratic budget chairman.

Rand said he expects K-12 education to be the top priority for House members and senators even though the funding formula — known as SEEK — hasn’t been cut in recent budgets.

But “an increase in the number of students means they’re actually getting less per student. So I think we’re going to work very hard to make sure we invest there. I think higher education, even though they haven’t taken as (deep) cuts as some of the other parts of the budget, we would like to see investment in higher education,” he said (2:30).

He added that he’d also like to see funding restored to programs from the Health and Family Services Cabinet. For instance, to help fill a gap of about $80 million in the cabinet’s budget, the state cut back the number of low income families eligible for a stipend to help cover child care costs.

Rand said he hopes those funds can be restored for the 2015 fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2014.

“We’ll just have to see,” he said. “I would imagine that would be a fairly high priority.”

All that hinges on having extra money. Revenue for fiscal year 2013, which ended Sunday, was on pace to meet projections but still needed to be strong in June.

“I’m a little bit concerned that we may not hit the mark in June. But we’re very, very close and we’re much better than we were the last three or four years,” Rand said (1:30).

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