April 11, 2018
Dear Mercer County Families,
Thank you for the support you have shown to the Mercer County teachers and staff during the past few weeks. Many of us have been traveling to Frankfort to talk to legislators. Unfortunately, we still do not have answers from Frankfort and are waiting for a final budget. I have had people ask for clarification on what public schools need from our legislatures in Frankfort, if our presence had made any difference, and do we need to continue to go to Frankfort.
Mercer County Schools will be closed on Friday, April 13, 2018, to allow our teachers and employees to travel to Frankfort to advocate for the funding of public schools. We currently have a least 30 teachers who do not have a substitute teacher to cover their classroom. Students last day of school will be on May 24th and graduation will be held on May 25th.
Legislators have taken notice, as has the local and national media; because of the presences from the state employees. I believe our presence pressured lawmakers into developing a budget that restored many, but not all of the cuts to education. However, since the Governor has vetoed the budget bill and is asking legislators to reconsider many of the cuts that were in his original plan, I have concerns that public education will not be funded to the degree that is necessary to provide a quality education for the children in Mercer County. Many of the cuts that initially were considered and might potentially be re-considered, directly affect the children living in Mercer County. These include cuts to the Family Resource Center funds, Transportation, Extended School Services, Preschool funds and others. There is no way of knowing what other areas maybe reduced or eliminated.
In the Governor’s proposed budget, Mercer County Schools funding would be cut $2,681,252 over the next two years. Here is a list of the specific cuts:
• Transportation $1,195,056
• Textbooks and Professional Development $214,424
• Employee Health Care $371,030
• KECSAC (Day Treatment) $240,000
• Family Resource and Family Service Centers $39,956
• CERS Employee Retirement $620,786
A couple of misconceptions that has stemmed from the media is that teachers are protesting the Pension System and to get a pay increase. The pension bill was signed by the Governor and at this time will be debated through the court system. At no time, have the teachers or employees asked for a raise. WE ARE FIGHTING FOR THE FUNDING OF PUBLIC EDUCATION!
As you can see, I believe we still have work to do in Frankfort. I believe we need to continue to make our presences known and be there to help our lawmakers make good decisions for our education system. Many of you have asked what you can do to help. Please contact the Governor and our legislators to ask them to make education a priority. Without a strong public education system, we will not be competitive in the future. Thank you for your continued support.
Dennis Davis, Superintendent
Mercer County Schools