FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Superintendents of the western Kentucky school districts affected by December’s tornadoes asked this week for an extended freeze on a school funding formula that ties average daily attendance to money.

What You Need To Know

  • Superintendents in western Kentucky are seeking help with funding

  • They're asking officials for an extended freeze on the SEEK formula

  • That ties average daily attendance to money

  • Keeping the freeze would allow schools to keep pre-pandemic funding while working to rebuild in the aftermath of tornadoes

The program known as Support Education Excellence in Kentucky allocates state funds to local school districts for costs that include transportation and help for low-income and special needs students. The formula was already frozen because of school disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic.

The General Assembly passed a bill this year allowing districts to use attendance data from either the 2018-2019 or the 2019-2020 school years to calculate the average daily attendance for the 2021-2022 year.

District leaders in the storm-ravaged areas met virtually with Education Commissioner Jason Glass this week and said they would like to see the freeze extended for up to five more years, the Paducah Sun reported. That would allow them to keep being funded at pre-pandemic levels while working to rebuild.

Otherwise, they could see a massive drop in funding.

“Mayfield is a town of 10,000 people that just don’t have housing,” Mayfield Independent Superintendent Joe Henderson said. “It’s not like you can move to the other side of town and find housing. There is no housing here to be had.”

Henderson said an extension of the SEEK funding formula would provide the school district with a “security blanket.”

Dawson Springs Independent Superintendent Leonard Whalen echoed Henderson’s concern.

“In reality, it’s probably going to be a three- or four-year cleanup effort, and then there will be folks starting to rebuild,” Whalen said. “I’ve got staff members that lost everything, and they’re being told by local contractors that they need two years before they could even start to rebuild their houses.”