By Lyle Hillyard
State Senator, District 25
I attended the Governor’s Education Summit and then the joint meeting of the Public and Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittees during the last two weeks. I am excited about helping the Governor accomplish some pretty lofty goals for education in the next session.
Our current surplus is mainly in income tax (a.k.a. education money). Given this year's tax cut, and all the talk about future tax cuts, there seems to be a great deal of apprehension in the education community. I do not sense a great deal of interest in just adding more money to public education without some clearly agreed upon goals or accountability.
Recently, I was concerned to hear from a CPA from Kentucky that they are not finding people who are willing to spend the time training to become CPA’s. At the NCSL annual meeting last year, Bill Gates expressed his concern that he was being forced to look for engineers in India because the American students were not willing to pay the price of such a challenging education. He said the fastest growing major at our Universities was exercise science so people could become fitness trainers. I think we need more rigorous high school classes so that our children are really ready for what post-secondary education should be expecting.
I am also convinced that investing in more updated computers would be a good use of some of our one-time surplus.
I have learned that money can only be spent once. I hope people will rivet attention on the Governor, his staff, legislators and educational leaders as we try to make a meaningful impact in public education while also addressing the desire to cut taxes and reduce government. This work will be challenging; hopefully we can reach an agreeable compromise.