FRANKFORT, Ky. — Time is running out for lawmakers to approve the state’s two-year budget for 2024-2026. Wednesday members of both the Senate and House are expected to vote on House Bill 6, the state’s operating fund for the next two years.

What You Need To Know

  • The expected final version of the state's two year budget includes increases to SEEK funding 

  • House Bill 6 will set the state's operating budget for fiscal year 2024-26 

  • The latest version of the biennial budget includes a 3% increase for SEEK per pupal funding in 2025 and a 6% increase in 2026.

  • Lawmakers are expected to vote on HB 6 Wednesday or Thursday

A document expected to be the final version of the state’s operating budget was read to a committee Tuesday. It looks to address the biggest sticking points between the House and Senate; funding for K-12 education and higher education.

In an hour-long meeting, Senate Budget Chair Chris McDaniel, R-Ryland Heights, went through all changes big and small. The latest version of the biennial budget includes a 3% increase for SEEK per pupal funding in 2025 and a 6% increase in 2026.

“Our overall intent was to be able to provide something that would allow for a meaningful raise inside most of our local districts, recognizing the need to adhere to the SEEK formula and we think we did that,” McDaniel said.

Both chambers also compromised on the increase in Tier 1 funding, which provides extra money to districts with fewer property assessments. This version of the budget increases Tier 1 from 15% match to 17.5%. However, no teacher raises are included in this version.

“Trying to continue to meet the statutory requirement that is the SEEK formula is very difficult when you’re trying to do things for specific people, particularly the frontline workers. That was probably the single longest conversation and negotiation that we had,” McDaniel said.

Some concerns were raised from Democrats concerning the allotment for Kentucky State University. The state is proposing to fully fund restoration of the existing campus, however, there is no funding for their priority project of a health sciences building.

State Representative Derrick Graham, D-Louisville and Senate Minority Leader Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, said further discussion needs to be had on appropriating funds toward that project.

“Getting that facility up is really primary to the health and welfare of that institution going forward or at least not being delayed,” Neal said.

However, Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, said the general assembly should be “dubious” moving forward of giving KSU anymore money.

“They’re probably lucky that they get the taxpayer money that they had been getting and continue getting. The numbers are embarrassing, so I think the decision of this committee is a good one,” Thayer said.

Chairman McDaniel said they left out the priority project because the proposed final budget already gives more money than KSU originally requested.

Both chambers also must complete the onetime funding bill, HB 1. That is expected to also take place this week before the veto period begins on Friday.

The expected final version of the operating budget also funds scholarships for early childhood education and child care for child care providers.