Education

Wednesday was National Philanthropy Day and Western Kentucky University celebrated in a big way.  The school announced a $1.3 million gift from George and Cynthia Nichols to support the school’s diversity initiatives. 

Cynthia Nichols said she and her husband were both first-generation college students.

"I had no clue what I wanted to get involved with, and really didn't know how I could afford it.  I credit Western Kentucky University and this entire community that wrapped their arms around us and took us forward, stated Nichols.  "What's also important about going to college is sustainability. Once you get them here, how to you engage them to keep them here?"

Owensboro Public Schools

The controversy over Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed pension reform has spilled over into academics. The uncertainty about the financial impact of pension changes has derailed plans for a unique new middle school program in Owensboro.

The increased costs that local school districts are expected to shoulder from pension reforms have put a halt, at least temporarily, to the launch of the Owensboro Innovation Middle program tentatively scheduled to launch in Fall 2018.

Courtesy White House, Office of the First Lady

At a conference last year on the region’s opioid crisis, journalist Sam Quinones presented a call to action to Northern Kentucky University.

Quinones is author of the influential book on the opioid crisis, “Dreamland,” and a tireless speaker on the topic. At conferences and other events in the Ohio Valley he frequently makes a plea: create an addiction research hub among regional institutions affected by the epidemic.

NKU decided to give it a shot.

“We looked and saw who was doing any kind of research related to health,” Vice Provost for Graduate Education, Research and Outreach Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh said. “We sent an invitation for them to come to campus last December and to start to talking about opioid addiction and the possibility of forming a consortium.”


WKU

The Intercultural Student Engagement Center Academy is accepting a $20,000 grant which will help aid the 2018 cohort of students.

ISEC Academy is a Western Kentucky University initiative that supports students who are first generation, underrepresented and Pell grant recipients.

The program provides participants with upperclassmen mentors, a living learning community and weekly study hours to help guide students to a four-year graduation.

Kentucky Colleges Seek More Funding in Tight Budget Year

Nov 3, 2017

Kentucky's public colleges and universities want more money, but Republican lawmakers say the best they can hope for is to break even.

The Council on Postsecondary Education approved its two-year budget request Friday, asking for an extra $160 million in state funding for the state's eight public universities and its network of community and technical colleges.

About 35 percent of that money would be for additional operating expenses, while the rest would be a combination of debt payments and retirement contributions.

Somerset High School

The Kentucky Department of Education has approved a funding plan that allows a major renovation at Somerset High School to move forward.

The approval of the financial plan for the $6.5 million dollar renovation at the high school allowed the district to take the next step and submit design drawings to the state department of education.

Kyle Lively is superintendent of Somerset Independent Schools. He says there will be some exterior improvements, but much of the major work will be inside the building.

A high school that pulls students from both Barren and Hart counties is partnering with Western Kentucky University to create a part-time work and dual-credit program similar to the Learn and Earn program.

Learn and Earn sets college students up with part-time employment with local businesses upon completing the program. Caverna Independent’s program is called Transforming Outcomes through Performance and Scholarship, or TOPS.

Overall enrollment at Western Kentucky University is stagnant from this time last year, which has helped create a nearly $15 million budget deficit.  Members of the Board of Regents expressed concern at their quarterly meeting Friday.

The current student population is 20,267, only ten fewer students from fall 2016.

Overall, the numbers are flat, but excluding dual credit and Gatton Academy students, there’s a three percent decline in the number of students on campus.

Sobering and serious were how some regents described the enrollment picture.

Flickr/Creative Commons/ NCSSM

Solutions to Kentucky’s pension crisis proposed by Gov. Matt Bevin and Republican lawmakers have stirred opposition from educators.

One of the proposals that concerns Somerset Independent Schools Superintendent Kyle Lively is that unused sick days would no longer be calculated into teacher pension benefits after July 2023. He said that change could have a dramatic impact on his district’s 137 teachers and administrators, because a large percentage of them are the 22- to-23-year mark in their careers. He fears they may decide to retire earlier than they had planned.

Creative Commons

The superintendent of Owensboro Public Schools says the pension proposal unveiled by Kentucky’s Republican leaders is "second-rate" compared to the current retirement system. 

Dr. Nick Brake applauds GOP leaders for not raising the retirement age to 65 for teachers, but fears that other reforms, if enacted, would make it harder for the state to attract quality educators.

Wikimedia Commons

The governing body of University of Louisville athletics has given Interim President Greg Postel the go-ahead to begin termination proceedings against men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino.

The U of L Athletic Association unanimously approved the motion after meeting behind closed doors for about two hours Monday.

Pitino was placed on unpaid leave last week after he was implicated in a federal investigation into the alleged bribery of high school recruits.

J. Tyler Franklin

The University of Louisville Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting on Monday morning. Members are expected to hear about the federal corruption investigation into college basketball recruiting that includes the U of L men’s program.

The university last week acknowledged its involvement in the federal probe, placed men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino on unpaid administrative leave and placed athletic director Tom Jurich on paid administrative leave.

J. Tyler Franklin

University of Louisville’s interim president said he won’t allow “current events and distractions” to keep the school from moving forward as it navigates the latest scandal in a series of troubles.

Interim President Gregory Postel said the school is cooperating with federal prosecutors and the FBI as they investigate what he called a “dramatic story”— allegations that the school’s basketball program was involved in a bribery scandal that funneled money to the families of top basketball recruits.

warrencountyschools.org

An effort by a Warren County high school principal to help notify students about an upcoming deadline for  Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, caused one parent to complain about 'profiling.'

It's one example of how schools are struggling to navigate the sensitive territory related to race and immigration.

Warren County Public Schools received a notice from the Migrant Legal Action Program asking them to remind students about the Oct. 5 deadline to apply to renew their DACA status. Without the approved status, they could be deported.

Kentucky Department of Education

Kentucky’s education leaders say they are encouraged by some of the results from statewide assessments during the 2016-17 school year. 

However, achievement gaps among certain groups of students remain in many areas. 

According to data released Thursday from the Kentucky Department of Education, overall achievement increased slightly at the elementary and middle school levels, but was down somewhat among high schools.

Pages