education

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.

Flickr/Creative Commons/ Novartis AG

A Kentucky lawmaker is sponsoring a bill that would require elementary, middle and high school students to be taught what are known as  “soft skills”. The goal of the new curriculum would be to better prepare students for the workforce.

Lancaster Republican Representative Jonathan Shell told House education committee members the bill is needed because students lack adaptability, reliability, communication and teamwork skills.

Hardin County Schools

A former Hardin County Schools superintendent and chairwoman of the Western Kentucky University Board of Regents has passed away.

Lois Gray was 81. She died Tuesday in Florida.

She served as the superintendent of Hardin County Schools from 1992 to 2002.

A liberal-leaning public policy group said Kentucky’s per-pupil spending on public education is lower than it was ten years ago once inflation is taken into account.

During his budget address last month, Governor Bevin promised to maintain per-pupil funding for the state’s K-12 students.

But a report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy shows that when inflation is taken into account, the amount of money spent by the state on a per-pupil basis has actually decreased by 16 percent since 2008. Ashley Spalding is a senior policy analyst with KCEP. She said claims that public school funding has been maintained are misleading.

Creative Commons

A new report by the progressive Kentucky Center for Economic Policy says continued state budget cuts to education over the years have hurt Kentucky’s preschool-grade 12 students.

The report surveyed school districts across the commonwealth. Districts that participated represent more than 74 percent of students in Kentucky.

Divestment in P-12 education has led to fewer days on the school calendar and fewer dollars spent on health services, according to the report. Districts also reported reductions in staff and lack of funds for staff raises.

Simpson County Schools Facebook

Educators from across Kentucky will be at the state Capitol this week encouraging legislators to restore funding that’s been eliminated in the governor’s proposed budget. Gov. Matt Bevin has proposed eliminating funding for 70 state programs. More than 40 of those programs are related to education.

Wednesday is Education Advocacy Day at the Capitol, an annual event sponsored by the Kentucky School Boards Association.

Jim Flynn is superintendent of Simpson County Schools and chair of the Green River Regional Educational Cooperative that represents 43 districts.

Matt Markgraf

Prosecutors won't yet seek attempted murder charges against the 15-year-old suspect in a deadly shooting spree at Marshall County High School and will charge him with first-degree assault for now.

Assistant Marshall County Attorney Jason Darnall told reporters Wednesday that the 15-year-old boy will face 12 counts of first-degree assault instead of attempted murder because they feel they have a better case for those charges right now. Darnall pointed out that the penalties for first-degree assault are the same as for attempted murder.

Daviess Co. Public Schools

Superintendents across the state are reacting to governor Matt Bevin’s proposed cuts to transportation spending for school districts. The proposal would require local districts to cover 75 percent of those costs--much more than the 42 percent they pay now.

Pulaski County Superintendent Steve Butcher, is concerned that the proposed cuts would make it difficult to get kids to school.


Thomas Galvez/Creative Commons

Governor Matt Bevin’s budget bill would keep per-pupil funding for Kentucky’s public education students at its current level. But the plan would still chip away at support programs and requires local school districts to pay a larger share of student transportation costs.

Administration officials say budget pressures created by the pension crisis has made it “harder to protect” public education from cuts.

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Governor Matt Bevin’s proposed budget is drawing mixed reaction from the Kentucky School Boards Association. While the KSBA is glad the governor is promising to maintain per-pupil spending, the group has other concerns.

In his state of the commonwealth address Tuesday night, Bevin suggested schools consider dipping into their reserve funds to make up for any spending cuts they could see in the next year. Director of Governmental Relations for KSBA, Eric Kennedy, said not every school district would be able to follow the governor’s suggestion.

WKU

The president of Western Kentucky University says the school will work in the coming weeks and months to improve its outcome in the next two-year state budget.

In a statement to media Wednesday, Timothy Caboni said the budget outlined Tuesday night by Governor Bevin would amount to a $4.6 million funding reduction for WKU.

The spending plan also eliminates $750,000 that is used to fund the Kentucky Mesonet at WKU.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

An elementary school in Owensboro is launching a program that uses a student’s fingerprint to keep count of meals served for breakfast and lunch. 

Sutton Elementary is piloting the program of finger image recognition technology called Biometrics.

Kaitlyn Blankendaal is the food service supervisor for Owensboro Public Schools and said the goal is to give students more time to eat.

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