4:41 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Education Commissioner Sides with Bowling Green in Non-Resident Student Dispute

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday has ruled in favor of the Bowling Green Independent School District in a non-resident dispute with the Warren County school system. 

Under the order, 750 non-resident students will be allowed to attend city schools in the 2014-15 academic year.

Non-resident students are county students who attend city schools.  State funding travels with the students. 

The county hoped to limit the number of non-resident students in the coming year to siblings of current students.

Commissioner Holliday accepted a state hearing officer’s recommendation issued at the end of May.  Warren County can appeal the ruling to the Kentucky Board of Education.

Warren County Superintendent Rob Clayton and Bowling Green Superintendent Joe Tinius could not be reached for comment when the order was issued late Thursday afternoon.

11:18 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Bowling Green School District Seeks to Recoup Mounting Legal Fees Related to Non-Resident Agreement

The Bowling Green Board of Education has approved an increase in non-resident tuition for the coming school year. 

In a special meeting Monday night, the board voted for a $100 increase in tuition from $312 to $412. 

The hike was recommended by Superintendent Joe Tinius as an option to recover district funding spent on legal fees throughout the non-resident dispute with Warren County Schools that has been ongoing for more than a year. 

"Our feeling is that the efforts in that regard are related to the non-resident students attending our district and that at least some of that cost needed to be picked up by non-resident families," Tinius told WKU Public Radio.

According to Tinius, legal fees are approaching $200,000. 

The two school districts are waiting to receive a final ruling from Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday regarding the number of Warren County students allowed to attend city schools in 2014-15 academic year.

4:39 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Organization Studies Level of Art Education Access in Kentucky, 8 Other States

The Kentucky Arts Council is examining data gathered by two studies regarding the status of art education across the commonwealth.  The studies were conducted by South Arts, an organization that represents Kentucky and eight other states.  Lori Meadows is executive director of the Kentucky Arts Council.

“Arts education really contributes to the education of the whole student,”  said Lori Meadows, executive director of the Kentucky Arts Council.  “In other words, it teaches creative thinking skills and the ability to connect different curriculum and different subject areas together.”

The studies found that a sampling of Kentucky schools is performing at-or-above national averages when it comes to providing access to arts education.  But Meadows cautions that only 27 percent of schools in the state responded to the a voluntary survey known as Phase One. But Phase Two, says Meadows, profiled an individual program that has shown success. In Kentucky’s case it was Owensboro Public Schools.

“Children in that district – the students start out and they have the ability to participate in visual art, drama, music and dance,” said Meadows. “And at that particular high school [Owensboro High School]  the drama program, known as the Rose Curtain players, is the oldest high school drama program in the state.”

Meadows says community support of arts education is equally important as what is provided by school districts.

12:08 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

WKU Regents Pass $392 Budget, with Two Dissenting Votes

The WKU Board of Regents has approved a budget that gets nearly half of its funding from student tuition and fees. By a 9-2 vote Friday morning, regents passed a $392 million spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

The new budget contains a $3.1 million dollar cut to Academic Affairs, which includes the elimination of 26 vacant faculty positions.

WKU History Professor and Faculty Regent Patti Minter was one of the two who voted against the budget. She said while some can argue it makes sense that academic departments face the toughest cuts since they have the largest overall piece of the budget, such decisions are harming WKU’s ability to attract and retain the best teachers and researchers.

“All of this would impact the students negatively,” Dr. Minter told WKU Public Radio. “Because this is the core mission, this is why Dr. Cherry built this college on a hill in 1906. And as he said in the depths of the depression, in these times we have to cut out all the extracurriculars, and we have to get back to the basics, which if the academic mission.”

Less than 19 percent of the next WKU budget comes from state funding, with nearly 49 percent made up of student tuition and fees.

As part of the budget, the Regents also approved a 4.8 percent tuition increase for resident undergraduate students, who will now pay nearly $4,600 per semester. The spending plan also includes a one percent cost-of living adjustment for WKU employees, with a minimum increase of $500 per worker.

WKU President Gary Ransdell told reporters after Friday’s regents meeting that declining state funding for higher education is a trend that has to be reversed soon.

“If we can get to the point we’ve gotten beyond state budget cuts, that would be a modest satisfaction. The victory will be if we can finally get Kentucky to invest in higher education, because it’s been now six years.”

WKU Health Services Deal Imminent

In addition to passing a budget, WKU regents were also told the school is close to signing an agreement with Graves Gilbert Clinic to run the campus Health Services operation which serves students, faculty, and staff. The school announced in March it would seek to privatize the campus facility, with an estimated savings of $1.1 million dollars.

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3:44 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Federal Money to Boost Broadband Capacity of Kentucky's Schools

Kentucky is poised to receive federal grant money to improve broadband speeds in public schools.

The Federal Communication Commission’s E-rate program provides $2.4 billion dollars annually to schools across the country to modernize Internet accessibility. 

Now that the FCC has pledged an additional $2 billion for the next two years, Kentucky educators are poised to get a $22 million slice of that pie.

Associate Commissioner of the state’s Office of Next Generation Learners, Amanda Ellis, says the money will improve connectivity to wireless devices that can download video lessons for students to watch at home.

“Students have the opportunity to watch videos in the evening, or after school. And when they go into their classrooms, and their teachers work from what they learned online. That’s not accessible to a lot of people even in the school setting, because it’s not fast enough.”

The FCC is expected to make a decision on the funds next month.

5:25 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Humana Co-Founder Gives to Catholic Foundation

The co-founder of Humana Inc. is giving $1 million to the Catholic Education Foundation of Louisville to help students attend catholic schools.

The gift from David A. Jones and his wife, Betty, will provide financial assistance to families who can't afford the full cost of catholic school tuition.

Louisville archbishop Joseph Kurtz says the couple has been among the most generous donors to the foundation, which started in 1996. Foundation president Richard Lechleiter says the gift will allow more families to get help with catholic school tuition. He says about 20,000 students attend catholic schools in Louisville.

The foundation says the funding of the gift will occur over a four year period.

5:45 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Kentucky Sees Increase in Number of College Grads

Kentucky saw a 1.2 percent increase in degrees conferred in 2013-2014, according to the Council on Post-Secondary Education
Credit Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

The number of degrees and credentials conferred this year by public and private college and universities across Kentucky has gone up.  The Herald-Leader reports the total of 63,148 represents a 1.2 percent increase over last year, according to statistics released Friday by the Council on Post-Secondary Education.

Private universities saw a nine percent growth in degrees handed out. The numbers are preliminary with a full report from the CPE later this year.

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12:50 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Dr. Clarence Wyatt Leaving Centre College

Dr. Clarence Wyatt
Credit Centre College

A lead administrator at Centre College is leaving the Danville school to become president of Monmouth College in Illinois. 

Dr. Clarence Wyatt currently serves as a history professor, chief planning officer, and special assistant to the president at Centre, where he is an alumnus and has been part of the campus community for four decades. 

“There really have not been many areas or people that Clarence hasn’t touched in a positive way at Centre,” Centre President John Roush said in a news release. “He has inspired a generation of students in a career filled with distinction and achievement. We will miss him, and we wish him the best in his new career as president of Monmouth College.”

Wyatt has also led the school’s two recent capital campaigns and served as co-chair of both the 2000 and 2012 vice-presidential debates. 

At Monmouth, Wyatt will lead a school similar to Centre.  It’s a liberal arts college with about 1,300 students.

7:37 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Tuition Going Up for KCTCS Students

Students at Kentucky's community and technical colleges are facing higher tuition costs the next two years. The Kentucky Community and Technical College System's Board of Regents approved a budget for the upcoming academic year that includes a nearly 2.1% tuition increase for in-state students.

The Board approved a $924.1 million budget for the state-wide system of 16 colleges and more than 70 campuses for the next year.

Board members approved higher in-state tuition rates for the next two academic years. For the next school year, tuition will go up from $144 per credit hour to $147. In-state tuition for the 2015-16 academic year will be $150 per credit hour.

2:32 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

WKU's Ransdell Among Members of Group Supporting Common Core Standards

WKU President Gary Ransdell
Credit WKU

The Presidents of Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education and Western Kentucky University are among those joining a nationwide coalition in support of the Common Core State Standards.

CPE President Bob King and WKU’s Gary Ransdell are pledging their support to the group Higher Ed for Higher Standards. Along with Dr. Ransdell, four other university presidents in Kentucky joined the group: Eli Capilouto of the University of Kentucky, Tim Miller of Murray State, Michael Benson of Eastern Kentucky, and Wayne Andrews of Morehead State.

Nine Kentucky Community and Technical College presidents are also members of the coalition.

The goal of the Common Core is to create consistent educational standards across states and to make sure those graduating high school are ready to enter either post-secondary education institutions or the workforce. Higher Ed for Higher Standards say it believes Common Core standards will help universities reduce the number of students who have to enroll in remedial classes once they’re on campus, as well as increase graduation rates.

“I agree with the Council on Postsecondary Education and with the Kentucky Department of Education, in that these standards set a level of expectation of our students, and of their teachers, and of their parents for support, that we need to keep our country up with world education standards," said Dr. Kris Williams, President of Henderson Community College and a member of the coalition.

Opponents of Common Core says the standards present a “one size fits all” approach to education. Last month, the Indiana Board of Education voted to scrap the state’s Common Core program and implement a new set of educational standards.

You can read NPR's FAQ page about the Common Core standards here.