GEORGETOWN, Ky. (FOX 56) — Gov. Andy Beshear unveiled his $2 billion education budget plan earlier this week, marking the largest investment in primary education to date.

His proposed budget includes raises for teachers, investments in career and technical education, and increasing per-pupil spending. Beshear’s plan also includes universal Pre-K, a move educators said would improve student success.

In his media briefing, Beshear said, “No longer will tens of thousands of our children be left out of preschool or headstart. Kentucky would now  provide our school districts with the resources needed to fully implement a pre-k through high school system.”

The governor wants to spend $172 million to send all 4-year-olds to preschool. Educators said it’s a small price to pay for student success. 

Courtney Casebolt, the president of the Scott County Education Association explained, “Universal Pre-k is very important. It’s crucial as educators to have what we need for our students and if there is students who are at risk or students with a disability. “ 

The state’s coverage of full-day kindergarten was only approved for 1 year.

But in this new plan, the state will extend its coverage of full-day kindergarten and now pay for pre-school, which leaves more money in hands of local school districts and parents.

The shift of money is good news for Scott County Superintendent Billy Parker. Parker said, “What that really means is that half of our kindergarten enrollment we’re not getting that funding for so we have to subsidize that ourself, but if we get the funding for that, that opens more money for teachers, for resources for those kindergarten students and really resources in general for the district.”

Andrew Burgoon is a teacher in Scott County and serves as the vice president for the Scott County Education Association. Burgoon outlined the impact universal Pre-k would have on Scott County families.

Burgoon said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It really gets kids who might start fall behind and get them up to par before they hit the classroom so they’re not struggling in 1st grade or 2nd grade.”

For Scott County, a district of more than 7,000 students and one of the fastest growing in the state, the proposal is welcomed with open arms. But there are questions circulating about the implementation of this proposal in a county that’s already bursting at the seams.

Parker continued, “In Scott County, we are growing. We have a lot of schools that are capacity so to figure out where those students would go.”

According to the Kentucky Department of Education, there are 34,000 4-year-olds not enrolled in a preschool or headstart program.