Beshear addresses the state about education budget increases, COVID-19 rates and tornado relief efforts

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Beshear is announcing some historic investments in education and gave a COVID and tornado relief efforts update this afternoon.

Governor Andy Beshear announcing, Monday, a $2-billion budget increase for education in the state.

Some major announcements include a 5% raise for teachers in the state.

Beshear also announced he plans to include universal preschool options for all 4-year-olds as well in hopes to bring Kentucky’s education ranking up.

Several other announcements include budgeting to help renovate career and technical education centers, including one in Edmonson County.

“What it will allow us to do is to add some space and renovate our current vocational center in Edmonson County High School so that we can better serve our students,” said Edmonson County Schools Superintendent Brian Alexander.

Beshear, in a separate press conference, announced the single largest week of COVID cases to date at well over 7,000 cases reported just two days ago.

He says, while the Omicron variant is not as dangerous as the Delta, with the rate it is spreading, the hospitals are still getting full very quickly and children are in the ICU following a diagnosis.

Beshear has activated the National Guard to assists hospitals and Dr. Steven Stack has asked the public, please do NOT go to an ER just to get a COVID test.

“If you can’t get a test but have mild to moderate illness, stay at home and do not go to school or work until you feel better. If you were sick and feel you need medical care, call your doctor. Go to the ER, though, if, and only if, you think you have an emergency,” said Stack.

Turning to tornado relief efforts, Beshear discussed FEMA and housing.

Beshear says FEMA is offering to pay for 30 days worth of cleanup and response following the tornadoes, but the cleanup will take much longer. He says the state will pick up the slack in order to avoiding bankrupting the counties hit the worst.

Beshear says housing at state parks will continue on for at least 30 more days.

“They’re providing housing and food service to 480 displaced Kentuckians and 139 first responders,” said Beshear.

The governor also announced that now a total of 2.8 million Kentuckians have been vaccinated which is around 63%.