The Gatton Academy at Western Kentucky University is celebrating its 10th year with the largest class yet.  The academy is a residential high school for gifted juniors and seniors pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. The program is preparing to increase its number of students from 160 to 190.

Only 24 percent of Gatton’s most recent graduates continued their education at WKU. Gatton Director Lynette Breedlove says most students, historically, have transferred to other universities to finish their degrees.

“About 33 percent of students historically have stayed at WKU. About 30 percent have gone to UK, about 12 percent to U of L. And the rest of the students have gone hither and yon. Probably the next largest group is about 4 percent going to Vandy,” Breedlove said.


Western Kentucky University is taking steps to create places where LGBT students will feel comfortable talking about gender and sexual identity.

Two Safe Zone trainings are being held Tuesday, Oct. 11.  

WKU counselor Brian Lee says the goal of the trainings is to educate employees, students, and community members about creating an environment that’s open and accepting toward LGBT individuals.

Kentucky Wesleyan College

Kentucky Wesleyan College received a $3 million gift from an Owensboro dentist who was not a graduate of the school.

Dr. Willard Gillespie died in July at age 92 and designated the money to the college in his will. Kentucky Wesleyan College President Bart Darrell said the dentist often spoke of his support for the school’s mission.

“We really do combine, and this is something that Dr. Gillespie really believed in, we really do combine the practical career end game type education, but at the same time, everything we do is guided by what we call the Wesleyan Way, four principles of honor, support for each other, competition with integrity and then love for each other,” said Darrell.

Darrell said the dentist appreciated the school’s dedication to providing career training and the importance the college places on character building, integrity and community.

J. Tyler Franklin

The University of Louisville has asked a judge to overrule an Attorney General’s opinion that it wrongly refused to release records related to its basketball scandal.

U of L filed suit Friday in Jefferson Circuit Court against a blogger who sought documents related to then-president James Ramsey’s decision in February to remove the men’s basketball team from postseason contention. The attorney general’s office ruled the documents were wrongly withheld.

The attorney general’s decision on Sept. 1 stated that U of L improperly denied a request from Peter Hasselbacher, who typically covers health and research issues on his blog, the Kentucky Health Policy Institute. The university’s suit seeks attorney’s fees and names Hasselbacher the defendant, as required by Kentucky law.

“I anticipated this was coming but when you’re hit with a lawsuit that wants you to pay legal fees and other damages, that makes you sit up and take notice,” Hasselbacher said Tuesday afternoon.

John Karman, U of L spokesman, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky is suing the Lexington Herald-Leader in order to avoid revealing documents about a failed business deal between UK HealthCare and a Hazard cardiology firm.

The Lexington Herald-Leader says it had requested a Power Point presentation given to the UK Board of Trustees by District of Columbia lawyer David Douglass about the Appalachian Heart Center. The university paid $1 million to Douglass and $4.1 million to the federal government because of billing problems at the cardiology firm it acquired in 2013.

The university has already filed a related lawsuit seeking to overturn Attorney General Andy Beshear's ruling that UK violated the Kentucky Open Records Act when it refused to turn over documents related to a dinner meeting in which Douglass briefed board members.

Judge Won't Order Tennessee to Give More Money to Schools

Sep 26, 2016
Creative Commons

A judge has denied a request from Metro Nashville Public Schools that she order the state to provide more money for education.

The school district's petition said lawmakers did not provide enough money for Nashville to hire the legally required number of teachers and translators for its English language learners.

The state has said the funding formula is just a goal.

The Tennessean reports Chancery Court Judge Ellen Hobbs Lyle on Thursday declined to issue an order to the state, saying the issue needs to be adjudicated first.

Nashville school board Chair Anna Shepherd said the response was disappointing. She has asked Metro Legal to prepare a list of options.

Shelby County and a cluster of seven counties that includes Hamilton are suing the state over education funding.

J. Tyler Frankin

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled that Gov. Matt Bevin does not have the authority to make mid-year cuts to state university budgets if the state isn’t experiencing a shortfall.

In a 5-2 ruling, the state’s high court declared that Bevin exceeded his authority by issuing an executive order cutting last fiscal year’s fourth quarter higher education allotment by $18 million.

“Whatever authority he might otherwise have to require a budget unit not to spend appropriated funds does not extend to the Universities, which the legislature has made independent bodies politic with control over their own expenditures,” the majority opinion stated.

The court reversed an earlier opinion by Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate, which said that Bevin had authority to unilaterally cut the budgets of state colleges and universities because they are part of the state’s executive branch, which Bevin is the head of.

The opinion stated that Bevin does have the authority to make mid-year budget cuts if the state experiences a budget shortfall of 5 percent or more, however the commonwealth experienced a surplus last fiscal year.


Western Kentucky University is changing course on its plans for a new campus sports medicine complex.

WKU announced in August it was partnering with The Medical Center of Bowling Green to build the facility. The medical provider Western Kentucky Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates filed a protest against the school last week.

The group said WKU awarded contracts to The Medical Center in violation of state procurement laws and regulations.

The school issued a statement Tuesday saying it will issue a Request for Proposals next week for bids on all parts of the sports medicine complex.

The statement says the decision to formally bid the project came after WKU officials went before the Capital Projects and Bond Oversight committee in Frankfort Tuesday.

The group that filed the complaint against the school is part of Graves-Gilbert Clinic.

Here is the complete text of the statement issued Tuesday by WKU:


The president of Western Kentucky University is announcing several initiatives following a pair of incidents on campus involving hate speech.

Gary Ransdell told faculty and staff in an email Tuesday that the school will create a President’s Committee on Diversity and Embracement.

The group will focus on strengthening “campus civility and respect” and deal with any issues on campus involving racial intolerance.

An African-American WKU student found a racial slur carved into her car last month following a dispute over a parking space. An African-American assistant dean reported earlier this month finding three threatening messages containing racist language in her office.

Both incidents are being investigated by WKU Police.

Ransdell also said in his email that the school will increase the number of campus events it holds that center on the themes of "civility, respect, and the embracement of everyone in our campus community."

Here is the full text of Ransdell's email:

Simpson County Schools

The Simpson County School District is seeing a rise in the number of students who don’t speak English as their native language.

The overall percentage of the district’s 3,000 students who don't speak English as their first language remains small, but has more than doubled in the last couple of years.

Superintendent Jim Flynn said the need to add staff for those students became clear.

“We’ve really increased from probably having about 15 or 20 students to now we’re somewhere between 40 and 50 students.”

The district has added another teacher this academic year for English Language Learners, to go along with another part-time teacher working with ELL students.

Flynn said the ELL teachers travel among the county schools from pre-K through high school. He says some of the students they help have had breaks in their formal education.

James Ramsey Resigns From U of L Foundation

Sep 16, 2016
J. Tyler Franklin

The embattled former president of the University of Louisville stepped down Friday from his second job as president of the university’s foundation.

James Ramsey said in a letter distributed by the foundation board that he voluntarily resigned as university president — “although my contract allowed me to stay in that position until 2020” — because he and his wife have been considering retirement for some time. Ramsey stepped down in June via a $690,000 buyout but signaled no intentions to leave his foundation role.

The letter stated that Ramsey would also leave his foundation role to pursue retirement on a date convenient to the board, “no later than Jan. 1, 2017,” but board chairman Bob Hughes said the resignation is effective Friday — and with no additional payments.

Ramsey’s resignation and a few other actions are enough to hold off any lawsuit for now, said U of L board chair Larry Benz. Benz had threatened to file suit against the foundation for withholding records he sought but laid out a “pathway to restored confidence” he said would prevent that lawsuit.


Fifteen journalism and media faculty members from the University of Kentucky are asking university President Eli Capilouto to apologize and drop the university's open records lawsuit against the student paper.

Al Cross, who signed the letter, said it was delivered to Capilouto on Thursday afternoon.

The university is suing the Kentucky Kernel, which sought documents relating to a sexual assault investigation involving a former professor.

The letter to Capilouto said his remark last week to the board of trustees that the newspaper published "salacious details to attract readers" challenged the paper's reputation and that of its editor and "cast aspersions on journalism faculty."

University spokesman Jay Blanton said while the concerns are appreciated, the disagreement is about the privacy of victims and is rightly being determined in court.

Ryland Barton

Students at the University of Louisville could lose federal financial aid and the ability to transfer class credits if the school loses its accreditation. That’s what the attorney general and an expert witness warn will happen if Gov. Matt Bevin is allowed to unilaterally overhaul the school’s governing body.

The governor’s office argues that U of L is not immediately at risk of losing its accreditation and that a lawsuit over the matter will be settled by the time the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools could impose any sanctions, settling whether the governor has the authority to abolish and restructure a university board without legislative approval.

Steve Pitt, the governor’s general counsel, said there’s no legal reason the school has to be accredited, but he still downplayed worries that U of L could lose its accreditation

“There is no statute in Kentucky, oddly enough, that even requires public universities to even be accredited,” Pitt said. “I think you’ll see that there’s a lot more smoke here than there is fire.”

J. Tyler Franklin

WFPL’s Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting has filed a lawsuit against the University of Louisville Foundation, the latest step in an ongoing public records fight.

The Foundation, led by former U of L President James Ramsey, manages the university’s some $700 million endowment.

The suit, filed Thursday in Jefferson Circuit Court, seeks an injunction to force the Foundation. to release ethics and disclosure forms, along with payroll and financial documents first requested by KyCIR in February.

The Foundation has resisted releasing the documents, saying the records requests were burdensome because they were “overly broad and blanket in nature.”

Glasgow Independent Schools

The Glasgow Independent School Board has finalized a contract with its new superintendent.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports current Glasgow High School principal, Keith Hale, will take over as superintendent on July 1, 2017.

His salary will be $115,750.

The start date next summer allows Hale time to finish out the academic year at the high school without disruption for students. It also gives the school district time to search for a new high school principal.

The school district is currently run by interim superintendent Larry Hammond, the former superintendent of Rockcastle County Schools.