Miss Kentucky goes before lawmakers over $20k scholarship

08/09/2013 12:50 PM

Miss Kentucky 2013 Jenna Day told lawmakers in Frankfort Friday morning that the contract the Miss Kentucky Program has with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Kentucky Proud is benefiting school kids.

As part of her, and other Miss Kentucky titleholders, opportunities Day speaks to Kentucky school children as a sponsor for Kentucky Proud food products, and the contract with the Kentucky Agriculture Department pays towards those speaking engagements.

Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, pulled the contract to review where the scholarship money is coming from and how it is dolled out to the Miss Kentucky Program.

“Is this the appropriate investment for Kentucky’s children when we continue to read things about – we can’t afford things like school books,” McDaniel asked Agriculture Department official Steve Kelly.

Kelly, who is the executive director for the office of strategic planning for the department, said he too had concerns about the program before looking into where the money comes from.

“This was one I looked at really hard when I first came over to the Department of Ag – is this something we need to be spending our money on? And as we went through the budget cuts we looked at it very hard – do we want to cut it out,” Kelly said. “We did reduce this contract by 20 percent when Commissioner Comer took office, but since this is being funded by private donations and not from our general fund. We feel like it’s a good program.”

The $20,000 scholarship isn’t spent all at once Kelly told the committee, but rather as Miss Kentucky makes appearances at schools they doll out $150 per visit and the scholarship has a $20,000 cap.

Miss Kentucky 2012 reached her cap and Kelly said kept giving the talks to kids even though the Ag Department could no longer send checks to the Miss Kentucky Program which administers the funds.

Day told the group that she wants to be just as proactive in her role as Miss Kentucky, and that she benefited from the program while in school.

“Last years Miss Kentucky reached over 55,000 kids so when I say that this position is important and has outreach. It’s really impacting kids. I mean I remember when I was in fourth-grade Miss Kentucky came to my school and it was inspiring,” Day said.

The contract unanimously moved forward and Day said she has two school visits already planned for the upcoming week.


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