According to the plan, Trigg County Schools will receive an additional $350,822 in SEEK funding. SEEK stands for Supportive Excellence Education in Kentucky. "Most of the money generated through SEEK is awarded through attendance," said Tim McGinnis, Superintendent for Trigg County Schools. By awarding money through attendance, school systems become more motivated to make sure students are attending school.
Along with the budget, the legislature also passed a three- percent salary increase for all teachers and state employees, and protected the health insurance program for retired teachers.
The $350,822 awarded to SEEK will primarily be used to pay the increase in teacher's salaries. "That money includes the money we need for the three percent salary increase. That's where the majority of the money goes," said McGinnis.
The increase in salary will cost the district an estimated $225,000. McGinnis said that he also must allow additional funds to be used for pay increases for teachers that receive higher education, such as a master's degree, or have been in the district for more than ten years. These additional pay increases can cost the school district approximately $100,000.
"I appreciate what the General Assembly has done with limited revenue," McGinnis said. However, he feels that although the General Assembly is giving school districts more money, they are also mandating how the districts use the money.
"If employees are having an increased cost of living, then so does a school district," McGinnis said. He noted that gas prices have been increasing, as are insurance prices. The school buildings are continuing to need maintenance and will one day need to be replaced entirely.
McGinnis said, "We need to expand programs. They fail to fund all day kindergarten. They fail to acknowledge that we don't get enough preschool money."
"I am grateful with what the General Assembly has given us, but we still have needs," said McGinnis.
In addition to the $52.5 million increased school funding in Kentucky, student financial aid will reach its highest level ever. Financial aid will reach $389 million over the next two budget years.