The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2005 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The spending figures for precollegiate education do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.
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Kentucky legislators’ 2006 session was marked by major changes to the state’s testing program and the largest K-12 spending increases in 16 years.
The legislature passed a spending plan for fiscal years 2007 and 2008 that provides $7.9 billion for K-12 education, a 14 percent increase over the current two-year budget. The plan includes a 2 percent raise for all teachers for the 2006-07 school year and a $3,000 across-the-board raise in the following year.
Over the next two years, formula-driven spending per pupil will rise from its current level of $3,445 to $3,508 next school year, and to $3,822 in 2007-08—an 11 percent increase over two years.
The overall increase is the largest since the biennial budget for fiscal 1991 and 1992. In that budget, legislators were responding to a state supreme court order to overhaul the Kentucky school system and adequately finance it.
The 2006 legislature also made significant changes in the way the state will assess middle school and high school students.
Starting in the 2007-08 school year, the state will add several exams from ACT Inc. to its testing system and use the results for accountability purposes under state and federal laws. All juniors will take the ACT college-entrance exam, and all 8th and 10th graders will take the tests in the Education Planning and Assessment System, also published by the Iowa City, Iowa-based nonprofit organization.
A version of this article appeared in the May 24, 2006 edition of Education Week