Education

WKU

The Western Kentucky University student newspaper has received a grant to help cover the legal expenses related to the school’s ongoing lawsuit against the paper.

The College Heights Herald reports it was given a $10,000 grant from the Kentucky Press Association Legal Defense Fund.

The chairman of the fund has also pledged to provide additional financial support to the paper if it needs help fighting the lawsuit in the future.

Creative Commons

A new report by the progressive Kentucky Center for Economic Policy says continued state budget cuts to education over the years have hurt Kentucky’s preschool-grade 12 students.

The report surveyed school districts across the commonwealth. Districts that participated represent more than 74 percent of students in Kentucky.

Divestment in P-12 education has led to fewer days on the school calendar and fewer dollars spent on health services, according to the report. Districts also reported reductions in staff and lack of funds for staff raises.

Simpson County Schools Facebook

Educators from across Kentucky will be at the state Capitol this week encouraging legislators to restore funding that’s been eliminated in the governor’s proposed budget. Gov. Matt Bevin has proposed eliminating funding for 70 state programs. More than 40 of those programs are related to education.

Wednesday is Education Advocacy Day at the Capitol, an annual event sponsored by the Kentucky School Boards Association.

Jim Flynn is superintendent of Simpson County Schools and chair of the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative that represents 43 districts.

J. Tyler Franklin

Leaders of Kentucky’s two largest universities warned lawmakers Thursday that Gov. Bevin’s proposed spending cuts would eliminate crucial programs and scholarships that benefit Kentuckians and attract businesses to the state.

Bevin has proposed cutting most state spending by 6.25 percent and eliminating 70 programs — many of which are in higher education.

University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto said that combined, the cuts add up to a little more than $26 million and would be equal to the school’s state funding 23 years ago.

Owensboro Public Schools/Facebook

As state lawmakers wrestle over Kentucky’s upcoming two-year budget, the Owensboro school superintendent said he will join other education leaders at the Capitol next week in an effort to convince legislators that investments in education are critical for economic growth.

When Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent Nick Brake talks about the importance of the state investing in education, he speaks from his experience of working with business executives who are considering investing in Kentucky. Brake spent seven years as CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation and said states that make a commitment to quality education have a more robust economy in the long-term.

Matt Markgraf

Prosecutors won't yet seek attempted murder charges against the 15-year-old suspect in a deadly shooting spree at Marshall County High School and will charge him with first-degree assault for now.

Assistant Marshall County Attorney Jason Darnall told reporters Wednesday that the 15-year-old boy will face 12 counts of first-degree assault instead of attempted murder because they feel they have a better case for those charges right now. Darnall pointed out that the penalties for first-degree assault are the same as for attempted murder.

WKMS

The Kentucky State Police are now saying that a total of 20 people were injured during the shooting. They say 16 suffered gunshot wounds (Previous reports said 19 total, 14 gunshot wounds).  This number includes two victims who died.

KSP issued a release with the updated total soon after 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday and later offered a clarification regarding the numbers.


Flickr/Creative Commons/ NCSSM

A proposal by Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin impacting the health coverage of retired teachers is causing alarm among many educators. Bevin has proposed eliminating $145 million in state funding for the health insurance of retired teachers.

After months of watching Kentucky lawmakers grapple with possible changes that could affect teacher pensions, the proposed cut in the upcoming two-year budget was another blow to retired educators.

Tim Abrams is executive director of the Kentucky Retired Teachers Association. He said teachers who have dedicated 27 years or more to students feel like they have not been shown much respect in pension and budgeting considerations.

Daviess Co. Public Schools

Superintendents across the state are reacting to governor Matt Bevin’s proposed cuts to transportation spending for school districts. The proposal would require local districts to cover 75 percent of those costs--much more than the 42 percent they pay now.

Pulaski County Superintendent Steve Butcher, is concerned that the proposed cuts would make it difficult to get kids to school.


Thomas Galvez/Creative Commons

Governor Matt Bevin’s budget bill would keep per-pupil funding for Kentucky’s public education students at its current level. But the plan would still chip away at support programs and requires local school districts to pay a larger share of student transportation costs.

Administration officials say budget pressures created by the pension crisis has made it “harder to protect” public education from cuts.

Creative Commons

Governor Matt Bevin’s proposed budget is drawing mixed reaction from the Kentucky School Boards Association. While the KSBA is glad the governor is promising to maintain per-pupil spending, the group has other concerns.

In his state of the commonwealth address Tuesday night, Bevin suggested schools consider dipping into their reserve funds to make up for any spending cuts they could see in the next year. Director of Governmental Relations for KSBA, Eric Kennedy, said not every school district would be able to follow the governor’s suggestion.

WKU

The president of Western Kentucky University says the school will work in the coming weeks and months to improve its outcome in the next two-year state budget.

In a statement to media Wednesday, Timothy Caboni said the budget outlined Tuesday night by Governor Bevin would amount to a $4.6 million funding reduction for WKU.

The spending plan also eliminates $750,000 that is used to fund the Kentucky Mesonet at WKU.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

An elementary school in Owensboro is launching a program that uses a student’s fingerprint to keep count of meals served for breakfast and lunch. 

Sutton Elementary is piloting the program of finger image recognition technology called Biometrics.

Kaitlyn Blankendaal is the food service supervisor for Owensboro Public Schools and said the goal is to give students more time to eat.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky is asking the state Department of Education to establish clear guidelines for teaching Bible literacy courses. 

The ACLU contends the curriculum being taught in some of Kentucky’s public schools violate the Constitution. 

The ACLU found that some districts are using online Sunday school lessons and requiring students to memorize Bible verses, among other things. 

In a letter to the Kentucky Department of Education, the ACLU asks for clear and concise guidance for teachers, as well as mechanisms for monitoring the courses as they are implemented.

Kentucky education officials say a higher percentage of children who took a screening test have been determined to be ready for kindergarten.

The Daily News in Bowling Green reports 51.4 percent of children who took a standard screening test this year were deemed ready to start school, an increase from the 50.1 percent last year. Fewer students were screened in 2017 because the state changed the kindergarten enrollment cutoff date from Oct. 1 to Aug. 1. Among other things, the evaluation asks children to count to 30 and recite the alphabet.

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