Gov. Matt Bevin proposes another budget cutting education, reducing funds for universities, eliminating Robinson scholarships for students from Eastern Kentucky, dramatically reducing funding for operating school buses.
The last is a particularly cynical shell game. While keeping the basic education levels intact (although inflation makes even continued levels a cut), the administration seems to imagine that school bus cuts can be made up from some other magical source. Social supports, art and vocational programs will be sacrificed so kids can simply get to school.
Also absent from the budget is a means of encouraging youth employment. A study of 1,209 low-income middle and high school students in Fayette County reported that summer and part-time jobs are their greatest need.
This is especially important for youth on the wrong side of the school-achievement gap. The motto of the largest anti-gang program in the country, Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, is “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.”
While education and other youth needs go unaddressed in the budget, we have House Bill 169 to increase prison sentences for youth involved in gangs. The American way seems to be to spend for prisons while skimping on prevention.
T. Kerby Neill