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Lawmakers Back Teacher Raises, Differ On Implementation And Funding

State House and Senate leaders are hammering out the details of a proposed pay raise for teachers.

But some worry the move could put a financial strain on cash-strapped districts.

The question facing budget negotiators is whether to mandate the two percent teacher raises or leave that decision up to local districts.

In a budget conference meeting Thursday, Senate President Robert Stivers told House Speaker Greg Stumbo his chamber dropped the mandate language because the numbers don’t add up.

"You know, Mr. Speaker, your county and my county don't do too well in this. They're a half a million dollars short, which means somebody's going to be losing some jobs or they're going to have to take monies from other areas," he said.

Democratic Rep. Rick Rand responded that the House plan grants districts enough flexibility to find the necessary funds.

"They deserve a raise and that's why we concurred with the governor that a raise should be given and we put the money in. There's always going to be some inequities through the SEEK formula, but we tried to create ways to make up for that," Rand argued.

Only two more full legislative days remain in the session before Governor Beshear begins considering what, if anything, he will veto.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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