Politics & Government

Bevin approves funds for K-12 schools after facing criticism from Democrats

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. AP file photo

A day after Democrats demanded Gov. Matt Bevin release $4.6 million to school districts to erase a shortfall in funding for K-12 schools, Bevin agreed to distribute the money.

The Kentucky Department of Education sent an updated request for the funding Thursday, which Bevin approved.

The money is intended to make up for a shortfall in the main funding formula for schools, called Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK), that occurred during the last school year.

On Wednesday, Democratic state lawmakers held a news conference in the Capitol Rotunda calling on Bevin to release the money. The Democrats weren’t sure if the education department had sent an updated request at the time of the news conference.

State Rep. Rick Rand, D-Bedford, criticized Bevin for waiting three months to approve the funds.

“After Gov. Bevin called me a liar and hypocrite in a video yesterday, I’m glad he now fully agrees with the House position,” said Rand, the House budget committee chairman. “I still question why his administration took so long to respond to the Department of Education’s repeated requests that date back to February, and claims that this was being done before other House members and I asked about it ring hollow as well.”

Bevin released a video Wednesday scolding the Democrats for raising the issue. On Thursday, Garry Gupton, a spokesman for the governor, continued along that path.

“If Speaker Stumbo and Rep. Rand were really interested in education over playing politics, they would have included the additional SEEK funding in an appropriations bill during the 2016 session — just like they did the third time Governor Beshear did not approve the SEEK requests sent to his office,” Gupton said.

Daniel Desrochers: 502-875-3793, @drdesrochers, @BGPolitics