HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) — Gov. Beshear unveiled his “Education First” budget plan on Wednesday, which included an 11% pay raise for all teachers and school staff—the largest single pay raise for public school educators in 40 years, according to the governor—and fully funded universal pre-K.

The National Education Association (NEA) ranks Kentucky 44th in teacher starting salaries. Beshear said his plan will change that by investing $1.1 billion over two years to support a pay raise to increase Kentucky’s average teacher’s starting pay to $42,191. The raise would bring Kentucky up to 24th in the NEA’s rankings.

The governor also said his plan would:

  • Fully fund teacher pensions and student transportation
  • Ensure no health insurance premium increases for educators
  • Provide teachers with student loan forgiveness
  • Support professional development
  • Fund textbooks
  • Boost mental health services
  • Help build new career and technical education centers

“With a record budget surplus, the largest Rainy Day Fund in state history and good economic conditions, we must keep Kentucky competitive by investing in our schools, teachers and students,” Beshear said.


His announcement comes a day after Republican gubernatorial candidate Daniel Cameron announced details of his “Cameron Catch-up Plan,” which included asking the General Assembly to approve a $41,500 statewide base salary for teachers.

Camille Hantla contributed to this story.