The full House will vote on legislation to allow local school districts to shorten their instructional calendar by up to ten days. The measure is being promoted as a way for schools to deal with a higher-than-normal number of snow days. Dry Ridge Representative Brian Linder says educators in his home community realize it often takes a while for bills to become laws.
“I told them I would bring the urgency that we need to make sure that we get this pushed through as quickly as possible so they can get their schedule figured out,” said Linder.
Bill sponsor John Will Stacey says school districts will not lose state funds, if they opt to reduce their calendars by one to ten days. Still, Richmond Representative Rita Smart has some concerns.
“Is it fair for districts that don’t take as many days that other districts are gonna take those ten days?,” asked Smart.
Kentucky public school students would not have to make up as many as 10 canceled school days under a proposal in the House budget.
State law requires public schools to have a minimum of 170 days and 1,062 hours of classroom instruction. But 31 of the state's 173 school districts have missed at least 20 days because of snow and ice, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association.
Lawrence County School District in eastern Kentucky was one of the hardest hit. Superintendent Mike Armstrong said the district has missed 32 days so far. In January, students were in school just five days.
House lawmakers are considering a separate bill that would let school districts lengthen the school day to make up missed time because of an emergency.
A check of school districts in our listening area reveals Warren and Hardin County schools have missed 13 days a piece, while Daviess County schools have missed 14 full days.
A Henderson County program that helps troubled high school students turn their lives around is getting statewide attention because of its success rate.
Since the Center for Youth Justice Services opened a year and a half ago at Henderson County High School, it has served about 130 students and cut down the number referred to court. The center offers services for behavioral, family and school-related problems.
Student Le-Onta Carey told The Gleaner that the center gave her the support and resources she needed to turn her life around. She says last year, she was struggling in classes and on the path to court. Now, she has clear goals and direction.
Steve Steiner, who is director of pupil personnel at Henderson County schools, says there is interest in expanding the program to other schools.
The Kentucky House has overwhelmingly approved a bill requiring teachers to be paid for a minimum of 120 minutes a week for non-teaching activities.
Bill sponsor Rita Smart says having adequate planning time in the daily schedule seems to be a bigger issue for elementary teachers.
“But, what we found that almost all high school and middle school teachers get more than that, many high school teachers get an hour, 60 minutes, but elementary teachers were not getting, in some districts no planning time," the Richmond Democrat said.
The bill sets out the daily allotted time to be a minimum of 24 minutes. The measure, which goes on to the Senate, passed by a vote of 85 to 8 on Friday.
The Warren County school district and the Bowling Green school system remain at odds over a student transfer agreement.
The county school board has rejected the city’s latest proposal to cut the number of non-resident students over a ten-year period. The county wants to keep more of its students and the state funding that comes with them.
Warren County Schools Superintendent Rob Clayton told WKU Public Radio that he also didn’t like the city's plan to allow transfers on a first-come, first serve basis.
“The board feels that the process needs to be the most transparent, efficient, and equitable process available and it’s the board’s conclusion that a random draw meets this criteria the best," said Clayton.
Negotiations between the two districts began in last September and went into mediation this month. Clayton said he felt that now is the time to appeal to Kentucky’s Education Commissioner.
“We’re coming to the point where a timely resolution is critical," Clayton added. "Both school districts need to have the opportunity to plan and prepare for the 2014-15 school year, but more importantly, the families in this community need a resolution so they can plan and prepare for the upcoming school year, as well.”
Education Commissioner Terry Holliday can either make a ruling or recommend a hearing take place similar to the one the school systems took part in last summer.
The Bowling Green Independent School District Monday night introduced new elements in their ongoing negotiations with the Warren County School District over the number of non-city residents who can attend city schools.
The school systems don't have an agreement about how many county-resident students the city will accept, and are trying to reach a contract under orders from Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday.
The Bowling Green Daily News reports the city's plan includes a reduction from 750 non-resident students to 650 over ten years. Non-resident students would be admitted on a first come, first served basis. Siblings of students would be admitted, 60% of the remaining spots would be filled by kindergarteners based on application date, and the final 40% on grades 1 - 12 based on date of application.
The non-resident agreement is key to a school district receiving Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding for out-of-district students.
The Kentucky House is backing a significant expansion of the early child care provider rating system. It will mean hundreds more child care centers will be able to tap into the “Star Rating” program offered by the state. The expansion will necessitate training paid for by federal dollars through the “Race to the Top” grant program.
One of those supporting the measure is Louisville Representative Joni Jenkins. Jenkins works at a community college and sees many young people involved in remedial programs.
“I cannot tell you how heartbreaking it is to work with students who will be in developmental math four and five semesters and I know that’s because they didn’t get what they needed at a very early age,” said Jenkins.
While the bill passed the House 77 to 13, there were a number of lawmakers who expressed concern about paying for the training long term. Bowling Green Representative Jim DeCesare says he supports boosting pre-school education for children, but still wonders about the cost.
“That doesn’t mean that I can’t ask the question where is the money going to come from after the grant runs out. Who’s going to pay for it,” said DeCesare.
A school administrator in Bowling Green says he is still in shock and hasn’t slept much this week.
What was supposed to be a school assembly on Wednesday turned into a surprise award ceremony for William King. The Freshman Class Principal of Bowling Green High School was presented with a national Milken Educator Award.
"The award isn't something you apply for, so nobody sent in anything nominating me. I'm glad I dressed up that day and wore a coat," laughed King. "All I knew was that the Commissioner of Education was coming to speak to our students that day."
The honor also comes with a $25,000 cash award.
King's roots run deep at Bowling Green High School, where he graduated in 1996. After earning his teaching degree at WKU, King returned to Bowling Green High where he taught history before moving into administration.
Professionals in the fields of business, medicine, athletics, and education, and entertainment make up the newest class of the Warren County Public Schools Hall of Distinguished Alumni.
The school district will honor 13 graduates of Warren County high schools at its second annual induction dinner April 12 at the Sloan Convention Center.
The 2014 inductees include:
*Norah Lee Allen, a 1966 graduate of Warren County High School, has been a singer on the Grand Ole Opry stage for more than 25 years.
*Dr. Jack Britt, a 1962 graduate of Warren County High School, has fashioned an impressive career in agriculture and education. He has conducted research that has contributed to advances in veterinary medicine.
*Sam Bush, a 1970 graduate of Warren Central High School, is a legendary musician and one of the founders of the band Newgrass Revival.
A new report shows over the last decade more students are taking Advanced Placement courses in Kentucky.
However, the College Board report released on Tuesday shows the state is below the national average of students in the class of 2013 who scored a 3 or higher on an AP exam. The national average was 20 percent, where Kentucky was 16.3 percent.
A 3, 4, or 5 are the scores typically accepted by colleges for credit and placement.
Over the past decade, the report said the number of students who graduate from high school having taken rigorous AP courses, like world history and physics, has nearly doubled.
The report also showed the improvement states have made over the last decade in students scoring a 3 or higher on an AP exam. Kentucky jumped from 7 percent in 2003 to 16.3 last year.