NewsCovering Kentucky


Lawmakers commit to helping western Kentucky schools

Dawson Springs, Kentucky a month after tornadoes level neighborhoods
Posted at 5:54 PM, Jan 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-31 17:54:34-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — In December, tornadoes devastated communities in Western Kentucky, and schools in the area are feeling that impact.

Superintendents of several school districts hit by the tornadoes told state lawmakers that they will need financial help for at least the next five years.

“This is not going to be a one or two-year deal," said Leonard Whalen, Superintendent of Dawson Springs Independent Schools. "We’re going to need some financial help for a while.”

Superintendents in affected districts say they are facing big funding gaps.

There's so much damage in their areas, they are not yet sure how much money they're exactly behind on. However, school districts know they have some bills to pay for repairs of any physical damages.

"My bus garage and maintenance took a direct hit," said Joe Henderson, Superintendent of Mayfield Independent Schools. "Every school bus I had - approximately 24 school buses are inoperable. Some are completely destroyed and the building - completely destroyed."

Lawmakers and the governor have already taken some action. House Bill 5, which has already been signed into law, provides $200 million in tornado relief. $30 million of that money is designated for school districts. However, superintendents say that's not enough.

So, lawmakers promised to consider future help.

"This is not a short-term fix," said Senate Education Chairman Max Wise. "It's not an amount of money right now that can go solve the immediate problem. This is something that's going to be years out."