Budget and Legislation in Kentucky


The Kentucky Legislature adjourned on the last possible legislative day, April 15, 2016, after approving House Bill 303, the 2016-18 biennial budget. General funds total $10.6 billion in 2016-17, up 2.7 percent over the original 2015-16 budget, and rise 2.3 percent in 2017-18 to nearly $10.9 billion. However, as a result of large general fund increases for state-supported retirement systems, most programs receive reduced or level funding.

Statewide general funds for K-12 education rise 0.9 percent to $4.1 billion in 2016-17, including $3 billion for SEEK formula funding to schools, also up 0.9 percent. Funding to each decline in 2017-18 by 0.2 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively. General funds for the Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System increase 160.3 percent to $779.2 million in 2016-17 and decline 4.4 percent to $744.8 million in 2017-18.

General funds to state-supported postsecondary institutions decline 4 percent to $879.4 million in 2016-17. While general funds provided directly to those institutions decline another 4 percent to $844 million in 2017-18, the budget provides $42.9 million to establish the Postsecondary Education Performance Fund, which will distribute the funds to institutions based on their achievement of legislatively approved performance goals and metrics.

Legislation approved during the 2016 regular legislative session includes:

  • House Bill 15, which requires new Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education members to complete orientation and board training and requires the council and state colleges and universities to develop continuing education programs for public postsecondary board members.
  • House Bill 111, which provides flexibility to schools in meeting the required 1,062 hours of annual instruction.
  • Senate Bill 140, which authorizes Kentucky’s participation in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA).
  • Senate Bill 228, which requires each local board of education to prohibit bullying in its code of acceptable behavior and discipline.