education

J. Tyler Franklin

After more than a month of speculation, the U of L Foundation fired Chief Financial Officer Jason Tomlinson on Tuesday.

ULF Chair Diane Medley wouldn’t say whether Tomlinson was fired for cause or when the discussion to fire him began, but said his removal is effective immediately.

Tomlinson was put on leave after a blistering audit released last month alleged former university president James Ramsey and his administration purposefully overspent, hid information and made questionable governance decisions.

Simpson County Schools

Kentucky’s education commissioner is offering details of how regulators could measure public schools’ progress improving and educating students. The move comes after the legislature voted to overhaul the school accountability system this spring.

The new system would rate schools and districts on a scale from one to five “stars” based on how well they improve in six categories: proficiency, growth, graduation rates (for high schools), closing the achievement gap, transition readiness and opportunity and access.

Somerset Community College

Somerset Community College is offering regional businesses a chance to use 3D printing at no cost. The college has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture intended to spur economic development in rural areas.

Eric Wooldridge is a Somerset Community College professor of ‘additive manufacturing,’ often called 3D printing. He said the process uses a variety of materials including ABS, a type of plastic.

Thomas Galvez/Creative Commons

An organization representing public school employees in Kentucky is worried about the impact charter schools will have on the commonwealth.

 

A law that went into effect this year allows applications for charter schools in Kentucky for the first time. Charter schools will receive taxpayer funding, but will also be exempt from most state regulations governing public schools. Stephanie Winkler, president of the Kentucky Education Association, is worried charter schools will focus on profits, not children.

Michael Pickens

Investigators say a natural gas leak is to blame for Wednesday's explosion at Murray State’s vacant Richmond Residence Hall. The four story brick building suffered crippling damage and engineers have yet to assess the future viability of the structure.

Kentucky State Police Public Information Officer Jody Cash said the cause of the leak is still under investigation but has been determined to be non-criminal. Vice president of University Advancement Adrienne King said the extent of the damage to Richmond Hall and the buildings surrounding the blast is still unknown at this time. King said all residents staying in the affected areas have been relocated to buildings cleared by the fire marshal. She said Murray State will be working with the Incident Command Center to check all utilities on campus and will continue working with them as the process moves forward.

Board OKs Tuition Increases at Most Kentucky Universities

Jun 16, 2017
Creative Commons

The average cost of a four-year degree in Kentucky will be more than $39,000 this fall after state regulators approved tuition increases at most of the state's public universities.

All but two schools asked for the maximum increase allowed by the Council on Postsecondary Education. The University of Louisville did not raise tuition, and Kentucky State University's board of trustees has not had a meeting yet to ask for an increase.

It is the second time regulators have approved tuition increases since Republican Gov. Matt Bevin cut the budgets for most public colleges and universities. Bevin said the cuts, about $40 million, were necessary to help the state cope with a multibillion-dollar public pension debt. And this year, state economists predict the state will finish the fiscal year with a $113 million shortfall.

The Bowling Green Independent School District has approved a tax increase for city residents to help renovate its aging high school. 

A nickel tax was passed unanimously at the BGISD Board of Education meeting Monday night.  It will raise property taxes from 78.1 cents per $100 of assessed property value to 83.5 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

The tax increase is expected to generate more than $11 million toward the $60 million renovation.

Flickr/Creative Commons/U.S. Department of Education

The Kentucky School Boards Association says it has some questions about an executive order by Governor Matt Bevin. 

The order creates a Charter Schools Advisory Council that will help implement charters for the first time in the commonwealth. 

“The historic charter school legislation passed during this year’s General Assembly session represents a truly momentous step forward in providing quality choices for Kentucky’s most vulnerable students,” said Gov. Bevin in a statement. “This advisory council will play a vital role in ensuring the success of this exciting new educational option. Public charter schools will create the promise of real opportunity for young people and their families where hope does not currently exist.”

Charter school legislation signed into law by Governor Bevin says local school boards and the mayors of Louisville and Lexington would be the primary authorizers of charter schools.

Becca Schimmel

Tuesday marked the end of the first year at Kentucky’s first stand-alone international high school, located in Bowling Green, a refugee resettlement area.

Shoes squeaked and laughter filled the small international high school, where the student body speaks about 30 different languages.

 

What used to be the annex of Warren Central High School is now home to Gateway to Educational Opportunities, or Geo International. The school serves 180 Warren County high school students from 24 different countries.

 


Rhonda J Miller

Schools in Kentucky, and across the nation, are making it a priority to develop a 21st Century workforce trained in the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and math. That skilled workforce is necessary for careers in the competitive global market.

Simpson County schools are making a commitment to science and technology with a hands-on ‘maker space.’

The robots are humming along on tabletop landscapes. Everything is made out of Legos at a robotics camp at a former school bus garage turned into the Franklin-Simpson Exploratorium.

Matt Markgraf, WKMS

Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet Secretary Hal Heiner outlined his vision for broad education reform in the commonwealth, including providing at least some form of post-secondary education for everyone, improving outdated area technology centers, reconsidering the traditional school day and investing in career counseling.

Heiner delivered his remarks at Murray State University’s annual Harry M. Sparks Distinguished Lecture Series Tuesday evening in Wrather Auditorium. In attendance were local educators, state legislators and city and county officials.

Citing the rapid pace of development of smartphones and computer chips, and Amazon’s ‘Kiva’ robots replacing human labor in distribution centers, Heiner said the ‘world of work’ is changing fast.

Thomas Galvez/Creative Commons

Public schools would be in a financial pinch if Congressional Republicans are successful in changing the way Medicaid is funded.

The federal Individuals with Disabilities Act requires public schools pay for health care services for students with disabilities — including services like school nurses, speech and mental health therapists. Kentucky schools received $34 million in 2015 toward those costs. Over half of the funds came from Medicaid — the rest came from the state.

That money could be in jeopardy if the American Health Care Act – also referred to as Trumpcare – is revived. The GOP plan proposes cutting $839 billion in Medicaid spending to states over 10 years.

Creative Commons

A controversial bill that would change the way local school districts assign students to schools is running out of time as lawmakers close in on the final four working days of the General Assembly.

The bill would give priority to students who live closest to schools — and would likely mean the end of Louisville’s anti-segregation program designed to mingle students from different races, backgrounds and parts of town in the same schools.

The measure passed the state House of Representatives two weeks ago, but it hasn’t yet had a hearing in the Senate Education Committee, which is the next step in the legislative process.

The Henderson County school system is preparing to begin random drug-testing. 

Starting in the 2017-18 school year, middle and high school students who participate in extra-curricular activities and those applying for a parking permit will be subject to the testing. 

Band Director Adam Thomas says he hopes the new policy will be a deterrent. 

"If they're at a party or something like that and somebody offers them something, we really hope they will say 'What if this is the week I get drawn in the random testing and we've got the big game on Friday or state marching band on Saturday? I don't want to miss out on that because I made one poor decision.'"

Bloomberg/Getty Images

The Senate Tuesday confirmed Betsy DeVos as President Trump’s education secretary, 51-50. The vice president had to cast an unprecedented tie-breaking vote, after hearings that became fodder for Saturday Night Live; after angry constituents swamped Senate offices with 1.5 million calls a day; after two Republican senators defected; and Democrats held the floor overnight in protest.

The 59-year-old philanthropist and activist from Michigan takes over the leadership and management of a federal bureaucracy with 4,400 employees and a $68 billion annual budget.

Now, the question is: How much will actually change for the nation’s 50 million public school students and 20 million college students?

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