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.
The Kentucky House has voted to expand a scholarship program for students in the state's coal regions. House members voted 92-0 Monday to send the bill to the Senate.
The measure is aimed at increasing the number of people achieving four-year college degrees in the eastern and western Kentucky coalfields. The scholarships would be awarded to students who, for the most part, attend four-year college campuses in coal counties, in hopes they stay there after getting their degrees.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo says coalfield counties in eastern Kentucky lag behind other parts of the state in the percentage of its residents with four-year college degrees.
The measure seeks to make permanent a pilot project.
The scholarships are funded with coal severance tax money.
A dispute between the Bowling Green city and Warren County school systems will go before a mediator Saturday.
The two school systems are at odds over a non-resident student agreement for next school year and beyond. Warren County wants to keep more of its students and the state funding that comes with them. The county last year lowered the number of students who could transfer to city schools.
For Bowling Green Schools Superintendent Joe Tinius, it’s not about money, but school choice.
"The SEEK dollars that follow students are spent on students," says Tinius. "It doesn't create a windfall or a pot of discretionary money for any school district."
Warren County Superintendent Rob Clayton argues that cutting the number of transfers doesn’t stifle school choice.
The Kentucky Board of Education is getting closer to voting on new evaluations for teachers and principals.
The panel said the new system would hold teachers accountable in new ways that would be consistent across the state. Currently, different school districts use different means of evaluating educators.
The proposal before the board would use a variety of means, including student test scores and observations by peers and supervisors, to rate teachers as exemplary, accomplished, developing or ineffective.