Kentucky Board of Education members discussed several items for potential inclusion in their 2009 legislative agenda. No final decision will be made until the December 10-11 meeting when the legislative agenda will come forward for approval.
Some of the items that were discussed included:
· School facilities items
o Amend KRS 157.440 to increase the five-cent equivalent tax rate for facilities to ten cents. All districts should be required to levy ten cents. Those districts already levying ten cents or more are authorized to levy an additional five cents, but are not required to do this. All facility funding (except the growth levy) should become part of the FSPK program.
o Allow Capital Outlay to be used for maintenance without forfeiting the districts' participation in SFCC upon approval of the commissioner. Maintenance does not include property insurance.
o Modify KRS 157.420 to allow land for new schools or modifications to existing schools to be purchased with restricted cash for projects noted on the District Facilities Plan for use in the next eight years. Land would not be counted in the calculation of need.
· Dropout prevention grants
o Amend KRS 158.146(4) to remove priority in the awarding of dropout prevention grants to districts with chronically high dropout rates, remove the requirement to direct 75% of available funds to elementary and middle school students and 25% to high school students, and focus the grant program on supporting promising and proven practices that are systemic, scalable, replicable and aligned with the principles of secondary reform.
· Blue Ribbon Panel on Interventions in Low-Performing Schools recommendations
o Add chronic low student academic performance as a cause for removal of a superintendent or school board member to KRS 156.132.
o Fund the Student Information System in the second year of the biennium ($6,832,100). The 2008-2010 budget funded the completion of the implementation of the Student Information System (SIS) in the first year of the biennium but not the operation of the system in the second year. The system is critical in providing data for funding, student populations, longitudinal reports, individual student growth interventions and their effects, attendance, timely transfer of student records between schools and districts and the demands of the Military Compact of SB68.
o Fund Read to Achieve and Math Achievement grants for the full biennium ($11,918,500). Much of the dollars in these two funds that were needed to complete contractual obligations to the school districts were redirected for other General Fund uses in the 2008-2010 budget. This has necessitated a use of FY'09 funds to complete the FY'08 obligations and will require FY'10 funds to complete the FY'09 obligations, leaving the FY'10 Read to Achieve and Math Achievement Fund programs exhausted by December 31, 2009.
· Assessment and Accountability Task Force recommendations
o It is anticipated that the Assessment and Accountability Task Force will come forward with legislative recommendations for the Kentucky Board of Education to consider at its December meeting.
· Expansion of preschool learning opportunities
o The Kentucky Board of Education continues to encourage the General Assembly to build on the traditions established in the 1990 Reform Act and later early childhood innovations to assure that all of Kentucky's youngest citizens have access to quality preschool opportunities in their communities.
For more information on the board's legislative agenda, contact Frank Rasche at 502-564-4474 or via email at Frank.Rasche@education.ky.gov.
SOURCE: Joe Brothers