Kevin's interview with Nick Brake, incoming head of Owensboro Public Schools
The incoming chief of the Owensboro Public School system says fully-funding pre-Kindergarten programs would be the best education investment state lawmakers could make.
Nick Brake will take over as leader of Owensboro's school system July 1, following seven years with the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation.
He told WKU Public Radio increased pre-K funding is money well spent.
"If you fully fund those programs, not only do you contribute three-to-one to their earnings later, but every dollar you spend there ends up saving the state money on the back end with benefit programs, criminal justice, and other savings," Brake said. "It's a long-term investment and sometimes those are difficult for public policy makers to swallow, but I think it's an investment that needs to be made."
Brake signed a four-year contract Monday to take over as leader of the Owensboro Public School system.
Owensboro Public Schools didn’t have to go far to find the new chief of its city school system. Nick Brake, president and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation, has signed a four-year contract to lead Owensboro Public Schools.
The First Lady urged the students at Eastern Kentucky University to apply the same resilience and hard work in school to their lives beyond campus and to seek out people with different beliefs.
Mrs. Obama paid tribute to more than 600 graduates Saturday night in a commencement ceremony at the school. She received a warm welcome from several thousand attending the ceremony at the campus arena in Richmond. She said that the work ethic and resilience that got the students to graduation day will serve them well as they face life's ups and downs.
Owensboro's Kentucky Wesleyan College says it will begin offering four-year graduation guarantees to incoming freshmen this fall. The school also plans to offer a three-year degree option.
KWC director of admissions Rashad Smith told the Messenger-Inquirer that the college will pay for up to one year of additional coursework for students who don't graduate within four years. He said the program is being launched to foster lasting, helpful relationships with students in the beginning of their college experience.
WKU didn’t have to look too far for the school’s new Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations.
Rick Dubose is a familiar face to many on the WKU campus. He graduated from WKU in 1973, and returned to the hill in 1997 to serve as the first major gift officer for the Potter College of Arts and Letters and the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.
Since 1999, he’s been WKU’s director of corporate and foundation relations.
Dubose starts in his new position May 15, taking over from Donald Smith, who was recently named President of the College Heights Foundation.
WKU President Gary Ransdell has spelled out how the school will handle a $2.1 million dollar budget cut next fiscal year.
In an email sent to faculty and staff Wednesday afternoon, Ransdell said that starting July 1, WKU will eliminate the budgets for the Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching—or FACET--and the Center of Excellence in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.
Recurring funding will end for the Provost’s Initiative for Excellence, and the budgets of the ALIVE Center and Institute for Citizenship and Social Responsibility will be combined.
WKU will close its center in Radcliff, and will operate programs previously held there at its campuses in Elizabethtown and Ft. Knox.
Earlier this week, President Ransdell said the school had found ways to deal with the budget cuts without eliminating jobs, although some positions could be shifted to other departments on campus.
Here is an excerpt from the email Dr. Ransdell sent Wednesday:
WKU employees impacted by departmental consolidations should know by Wednesday if they are affected by the moves.
For weeks, WKU President Gary Ransdell has been warning that the school was going to have to cut personnel in light of an expected $2.1 million dollar budget cut next fiscal year. But this week Dr. Ransdell said the school's vice-presidents were able to find ways to consolidate certain operations and departments without costing any jobs.
Dr. Ransdell says the school has been notifying those workers impacted by the changes this week. The WKU president said he will send an email to all faculty and staff either Wednesday or Thursday detailing the moves the school has made regarding consolidations.
Ransdell added he is happy the school has found a way to deal with the budget cut that didn't involve personnel or salary reductions.
WKU President Gary Ransdell says there will be no job losses next year related to the school’s upcoming budget cut. Dr. Ransdell had been warning that personnel reductions were likely following the Council on Postsecondary Education’s decision to allow a 3% in-state undergraduate tuition increase next year, instead of the 5% hike WKU had requested.
But in an email to WKU faculty and staff yesterday, Dr. Ransdell said “no one will lose their employment at WKU" despite the school having to cut $2.1 million from its budget.
The WKU president said some employees might be relocated to other departments during the next academic year. He also said some 200 faculty members will receive market-salary adjustments worth a total of $500,000.
Education experts will soon be examining applications from public schools districts across Kentucky that want to become “Districts of Innovation.”
The Kentucky Education Department says the designation allows the districts to seek exemption from some rules and regulations to try to improve student learning.
The idea is to let school districts change the way they teach and students learn with initiatives such as competency-based learning and a modified school schedule.
Seventeen districts submitted applications for the designation. Staff from the Education Department, the Education Professional Standards Board and the Regional Education Laboratory that serves Kentucky will review the applications in May and make recommendations to the Kentucky Board of Education. The board will select the districts June 5.
Districts could begin implementing plans as early as the coming school year.
Kentucky education officials say they've been assured that technical glitches that affected proficiency tests administered online have been resolved and testing is set to resume Monday.
The state Education Department suspended online testing Wednesday after problems were reported with slow or dropped connections experienced by students taking the computer based tests in more than two dozen districts.
The agency says the vendor, ACT Inc., reported the problem was with the system becoming overloaded and that the capacity has now been increased and no further problems are expected. The end-of-course tests are mandatory for students taking English II, algebra II, biology and U.S. history.
Kentucky officials said the ACT problem also affected students in Alabama and Ohio. Students in Indiana, Minnesota and Oklahoma, which also experienced technical problems, contract with different vendors.