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Beshear talks education budget during tour of Lexington school

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 18:23:32-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) - — Carter G. Woodson Academy administration walked Governor Andy Beshear through their campus Friday.

Beshear made stops in several classes, talking to students and teachers about what their needs are.

The tour took place on the same week Beshear released his two-year spending budget, where he took a step towards fulfilling campaign trail promises by prioritizing education.

“It's a great time to look around and say what are our values? Cause if we've only got a little bit to invest, where are we going to invest it in? And for us, the starting point was absolutely public education,” said Beshear.

If approved, this would be the first budget in more than a decade to avoid spending cuts to the state’s general fund.

“The question isn’t whether we can afford to. The question is whether we’re willing to,” said Beshear. “And for the sake of our next generations, we better be willing to.”

The proposal would give teachers $2,000 raises, fund new textbooks and bump funding for public universities.

Republican leaders in Frankfort raised concerns following the release of the proposal. Among them are criticisms funding for school safety isn’t enough for more than structural changes.

Beshear also faced legislators frustrated over his decision to hold a press briefing regarding the budget, noting they had not been made aware of it ahead of time. Beshear addressed the concern, saying he was making changes to the proposal leading up to the day it was released.

“It wasn’t a partisan issue. We weren’t able to brief Democrats or Republicans,” said Beshear. “Now we’ve got the whole rest of the session to work on that budget with them.”

The final budget will need to be voted on and approved by the final day of the legislative session in April.