education

Flickr/Creative Commons/John Bratseth

A new private preschool catering to special-needs children is opening in Owensboro.

The 30-week program will accept children with and without special-needs.

 

The Messenger-Inquirer reports Play Smart Preschool is the third private special-education preschool in the state, with the other two in Frankfort and Louisville. The maximum class size will be 18 students.

Roxanne Scott

Dan Brennan has a hunch why some public service workers — like public school teachers — aren’t paid well.

“People could call it a calling and say ‘because it’s a calling, we don’t have to pay you that well,’” Brennan, a music teacher from Eastern Kentucky, said. “We don’t have to compensate you that well …you’d do it anyway.”

Brennan was one of the thousands who came to the Capitol on Monday to protest cuts to education funding as well as a change to the state’s pension system. Last Thursday night, lawmakers passed a last-minute pension overhaul. It would cap the amount of sick days that teachers could use towards retirement.

Creative Commons

The opening of charter schools in Kentucky could be delayed if a two-year budget passed this week by the General Assembly is signed by Governor Bevin.

The spending plan contains no funding for charters, which operate with greater independence than traditional schools and with a different level of accountability. 

Lawmakers approved the creation of charter schools in last year’s legislative session.  The state then began accepting applications with a goal of having some of the alternative public schools operating by this fall.

Ryland Barton

Thousands of Kentucky teachers filled the streets near the state Capitol in Frankfurt on Monday to rally for education funding.

Teachers and other school employees gathered outside the Kentucky Education Association a couple of blocks from the Capitol chanting "Stop the war on public education" and holding or posting signs that say "We've Had Enough."

"We're madder than hornets, and the hornets are swarming today," said Claudette Green, a retired teacher and principal.

Kentucky Districts Call Off Classes Due to Teacher Absences

Mar 30, 2018
Ryland Barton

Schools in several of Kentucky's largest counties were forced to close Friday when teachers angered by the abrupt passage of a pension overhaul refused to go to work.

The state's two largest districts in Louisville and Lexington were among at least eight school districts that closed schools due to widespread employee absences.

"A lot of sick days are going to be used today," said Patricia Lea Collins, the Head Start and preschool director for the Pike County school system, where schools were closed Friday.

Ryland Barton

Students from across Kentucky traveled to the state Capitol to rally against gun violence as part of demonstrations that took place across the country on Wednesday.

More than 40 students from Marshall County High School made the three-and-a-half hour trip to Frankfort.

Marshall County Junior Leighton Solomon was one of several students to speak at the rally. She called on lawmakers to put politics aside and come up with solutions to school violence.

Ryland Barton

The leader of the state Senate said there is a “limited and difficult path forward” for the Republican plan to overhaul the state’s pension systems because there isn’t enough support among lawmakers.

Senate President Robert Stivers also said that as a result, the Senate would likely not consider a bill to provide relief to local governments from ballooning contributions into the pension systems scheduled to begin in July.

Stivers said without structural changes to the pension system, the legislature can’t afford to let local governments pay less than already planned.

LRC Public Information

Local officials would be able to boost the salaries of teachers in struggling public schools in order to make the positions more attractive to job applicants, under a bill that passed a state Senate committee on Thursday.

Senate Bill 152 would only apply to schools that the Kentucky Department of Education considers to be in “targeted” or “comprehensive support and improvement” status.

Sen. David Givens, a Republican from Greensburg, said the legislation would make poor-performing schools more attractive to experienced teachers.

Kentucky Teachers Rally Over Retirement Cuts, Warn of Strike

Mar 9, 2018
Creative Commons

Hundreds of teachers in central Kentucky rallied in front of public schools Thursday morning to protest proposed cuts to their retirement benefits in what could be a precursor to a statewide strike.

Kentucky state Senators on Wednesday took the first step toward passing a bill they say would save taxpayers $3.2 billion over the next 20 years and stabilize one of the country's worst-funded public pension systems. But most of those savings would come from a 33 percent cut to the annual cost-of-living raises for retired teachers, who are not eligible for Social Security benefits.

Teacher Unions See Momentum Build with West Virginia Strike

Mar 8, 2018
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

As teachers in West Virginia noisily celebrated a 5 percent raise that ended their nine-day walkout, momentum was building elsewhere for similar protests over pay and benefits for the nation's public school teachers.

Teachers in Oklahoma and Arizona are contemplating actions of their own amid growing frustration over meager pay. Teachers and staff in eight Kentucky school districts were planning "walk in" rallies Thursday to protest proposed cuts to their retirement benefits. Teachers in Pittsburgh reached a tentative agreement after threatening a strike, and hundreds of educators held demonstrations this week in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Ryland Barton

Gov. Matt Bevin says teachers are wrongfully attacking him for pushing to overhaul the state’s ailing pension systems, saying they’re either “ill-informed or willfully blind.”

The comment came in response to an angry group of educators who protested a state Senate committee’s passage of a bill that cuts benefits for retired public school teachers.

Though Bevin hasn’t explicitly endorsed the Senate plan, he said teachers should appreciate his approach to fix the public worker retirement programs.

Bill Cutting Teacher Benefits Advances in Kentucky

Mar 7, 2018
Creative Commons

A bill cutting benefits for retired public school teachers has cleared a key hurdle in the Kentucky legislature despite protests from educators chanting "vote them out!"

The Senate State and Local Government Committee voted 7-4 to approve Senate Bill 1. The bill cuts annual cost-of-living raises for retired teachers to 1 percent from 1.5 percent. Republican Sen. Joe Bowen, who sponsored the bill, said it would save the state about $3.2 billion over the next 20 years.

Daviess County Public Schools

A Daviess County High School student is facing criminal charges after a threatening message was discovered on a bathroom stall door.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports the message read, “Gonna Shoot Up School at 1:45”.

A male juvenile was later questioned by school staff and admitted to writing the message.

IdeaFestival Bowling Green

An estimated 800 middle and high school students will be on the campus of Western Kentucky University Thursday for the fifth-annual IdeaFestival Bowling Green.

The theme of this year’s event is “What’s the Big Idea?”, and is focused on helping young people identify and achieve their dream ideas.

Thomas Galvez/Creative Commons

Some Kentucky schools canceled planned safety reviews in response to Governor Bevin’s state budget cuts. Bevin proposed the 6.25 percent cuts to most state agencies in response to a $200 million shortfall. One of the schools that canceled its safety review is Marshall County Elementary School, which is in the same district as the high school where a deadly shooting took place last month.

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