English, Lucas, Priest, and Owsley

A new program in Bowling Green is aimed at increasing the diversity of the city’s legal and law enforcement communities.

The Legal Diversity Pipeline Project involves the Bowling Green Police Department, Warren County Courts, a Bowling Green law firm and two local high schools.

About 60 freshmen from Bowling Green High and Warren Central will meet Friday with Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton, Jr. and U.S. District Judge Robert Stivers, visit the 911 dispatch center at the city’s police department, and tour the Warren County Jail.

Ryland Barton, Kentucky Public Radio

Teachers from across Kentucky are holding a rally in Frankfort on Wednesday, March 21 to protest proposed changes to the state pension system and support funding for education. 

It’s being called a ‘Day of Action’ and several school districts, mostly in eastern Kentucky, have canceled classes so teachers can participate. Some districts, like Owensboro, are holding regularly scheduled classes but sending delegations of teachers. The Owensboro Education Association is planning to send 21 teachers.


The president of Western Kentucky University says the most recent budget reductions to offset a $15 million shortfall were less severe than anticipated, but warns more employee layoffs are on the horizon.

WKU President Timothy Caboni says the past several weeks spent reducing personnel across four campuses have been challenging.  The initial budget reduction estimates announced in February indicated that as many as 100 filled positions would need to be eliminated.  However, the actual number of full-time employees laid off was 62.  The university also cut 57 vacant positions. 

Ryland Barton

Students from across Kentucky traveled to the state Capitol to rally against gun violence as part of demonstrations that took place across the country on Wednesday.

More than 40 students from Marshall County High School made the three-and-a-half hour trip to Frankfort.

Marshall County Junior Leighton Solomon was one of several students to speak at the rally. She called on lawmakers to put politics aside and come up with solutions to school violence.

Lisa Autry

You could call it Walkout Wednesday at high schools all over Kentucky-students leaving class in solidarity to end gun violence.

“This protest is not about leaving your class," said Jack Eason, president of the Young Democrats Club at Bowling Green High School. "It’s about sending a message to Frankfort, to Washington DC, that we’re not going to put up with this anymore.”

Rhonda J. Miller

Students in south Warren County and Owensboro were among young people nationwide who walked out of classrooms Wednesday to honor the 17 students and educators shot to death in Parkland, Florida and to push for safer schools. 

Set among peaceful fields with bales of hay and grazing cows, South Warren High School is the picture of a safe place for students. But school shooters at campuses across the country have put students on edge.

The fatal shooting of 17 people at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last month and the killing of two students and injuries to more than a dozen others at Marshall County High School in Kentucky in January have left students rattled.

Owensboro Public Schools

Some students at Owensboro’s two public high schools are expected to take part in the March 14 walkout to honor the 17 people shot to death at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. 

The walkout by students across the county will take place at 10 a.m. local time. The goal is to encourage Congress to pass stronger gun control laws.

School systems across Kentucky are making plans ahead of a national school walkout on Wednesday to protest gun violence. 

Organizers of the Women’s March have called for a 17-minute walkout at 10:00 a.m., one minute for each of the 17 victims killed in the Parkland, Florida school shooting on February 14.

Warren County Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton says he supports students and their right to march in support of tighter gun laws.  He told WKU Public Radio that students won’t be punished as long as their activism is approved by their school principal.

Owensboro Centre for Business and Research

An Owensboro school that focuses on training future entrepreneurs is expanding its footprint in a facility that houses a business incubator.

The public school known as Innovation Academy launched in 2015 with its freshman class and has been occupying half the space at the Owensboro Centre for Business and Research. The school has grown and beginning in June will take over the entire 40,000-square-foot  facility as it prepares for the Fall academic year with all four grades of high school.

The business  incubator launched in 2009 to provide office and laboratory space for up-and-coming businesses with a focus on the life sciences. 

Tre’ Sexton, courtesy Bluegrass Solar

Arlie Boggs Elementary sits between Kentucky’s two tallest mountains in a remote area that once had a booming coal economy. Ten years ago there were over a thousand coal miners employed here in Letcher county. Today, there are just 28.

“We were left with many unemployed miners,” eighth-grader Nicholas Sturgill said, as he and two classmates gave a presentation to a small crowd of students and teachers at an education summit in Pikeville, Kentucky.

“Paying bills had become a hardship for many. We wondered what we could do to reduce costs in our homes and our schools,” he said.

LRC Public Information

Local officials would be able to boost the salaries of teachers in struggling public schools in order to make the positions more attractive to job applicants, under a bill that passed a state Senate committee on Thursday.

Senate Bill 152 would only apply to schools that the Kentucky Department of Education considers to be in “targeted” or “comprehensive support and improvement” status.

Sen. David Givens, a Republican from Greensburg, said the legislation would make poor-performing schools more attractive to experienced teachers.

Kentucky Teachers Rally Over Retirement Cuts, Warn of Strike

Mar 9, 2018
Creative Commons

Hundreds of teachers in central Kentucky rallied in front of public schools Thursday morning to protest proposed cuts to their retirement benefits in what could be a precursor to a statewide strike.

Kentucky state Senators on Wednesday took the first step toward passing a bill they say would save taxpayers $3.2 billion over the next 20 years and stabilize one of the country's worst-funded public pension systems. But most of those savings would come from a 33 percent cut to the annual cost-of-living raises for retired teachers, who are not eligible for Social Security benefits.

Teacher Unions See Momentum Build with West Virginia Strike

Mar 8, 2018
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As teachers in West Virginia noisily celebrated a 5 percent raise that ended their nine-day walkout, momentum was building elsewhere for similar protests over pay and benefits for the nation's public school teachers.

Teachers in Oklahoma and Arizona are contemplating actions of their own amid growing frustration over meager pay. Teachers and staff in eight Kentucky school districts were planning "walk in" rallies Thursday to protest proposed cuts to their retirement benefits. Teachers in Pittsburgh reached a tentative agreement after threatening a strike, and hundreds of educators held demonstrations this week in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Rhonda J. Miller

Western Kentucky University revealed its recommended plan today on how it might confront a $15 million budget shortfall, plus increased pension contributions and reduced state funding.  

WKU President Timothy Caboni told the Board of Regents that the necessary financial cuts require the most painful decision a university leader must make – cutting five percent of the faculty and staff of about 2,000 employees.              

“We’ll significantly reduce the size of our workforce at WKU," said Caboni. "We’ve captured approximately 40 vacant positions through our hiring slowdown we implemented last fall. An additional 90-to-100 positions will be eliminated this spring.”

Teachers across Kentucky are giving mixed reviews on a new plan to reform the state’s retirement systems for public sector workers. 

One Warren County teacher credits lawmakers for making compromises, but says the legislation still balances pension reform on the backs of public servants. 

Kim Coomer teaches high school students at the Warren County Area Technology Center.  She praises lawmakers for not forcing current teachers into defined contribution, or 401(k)-style plans.  Coomer says having a guaranteed benefit is important for teachers because they don’t get social security benefits to act as a buffer in retirement.