Friday, May 21, 2010

School News from Around Kentucky

U of L suspends education dean search: Saying a good fit could not be found, University of Louisville officials announced Wednesday they are halting their current search for an education dean, and will begin a new search in the fall. The candidates have strong resumes “and were coming from good universities…but we are looking for a good fit for the school and the community,” said U of L Provost Shirley Willihnganz. Former Oldham County Superintendent Blake Haselton, who has served as the interim dean at the College of Education and Human Development since June 2008, will remain in that position until next summer, when the university hopes to find a permanent dean, she said. (C-J)

Bullitt teachers plan Monday rally over state budget: Teachers in Bullitt County plan to hold a rally Monday to draw attention to the state budget and how it could affect education in the county and state. During the rally, which begins at 3 p.m. at Bullitt Central High School, educators will ask state legislators to pass a budget that provides districts enough funding to meet students' needs, provide adequate health care for school employees and pay for two more instruction days, said Brenda Hutchison, president of the Bullitt County Education Association. (C-J)

Union Co schools chief violated school statutes: The superintendent of the Union County school district violated Kentucky revised statutes and other school laws when making changes at schools in his district, a report released last week found. The Office of Education Accountability, an independent government organization, began investigating Joshua Powell after 20 allegations that he exceeded his statutory powers were made by an unidentified party. The Union County school board was also mentioned in the report as having agreed to a policy that countered state law and a decision by the Kentucky Supreme Court. Meanwhile, Powell, who was named the Kentucky Association of School Administrators' 2009 Administrator of the Year, criticized the agency's findings. "Let me say that all of OEA's allegations and findings are a travesty and the manner in which OEA conducted itself in the Union County Public School district is in direct conflict with federal and state laws and initiatives," he said. (Gleaner) And...

The OEA's findings: In the report, OEA defines 20 accusations made against Superintendent Josh Powell. OEA primarily deals with allegations of violations relating to the policies and protocol of site-based decision-making councils. During the regular school board meeting on Monday night, Powell defended himself and the employees of UCPS against all 20 allegations, of which 12 instances were found to be in violation of statute. Of the 12 violations, many stem from the alleged misuse of power over SBDM councils and principals beyond the scope of statute. Others involve alleged impropriety in hiring practices, including the hire of the UCMS principal and Director of Special Education before they were certified and the installation of Curriculum Specialists in all schools without SBDM approval. A separate report was filed for UCMS Principal Holly Keeney and Director of Special Education Brian Lovell in relation to Superintendent Powell’s action. (Union Co Advocate)

120 teachers at 6 troubled JCPS schools to be transferred: Some were merely disappointed. Others were so distraught that they had to be consoled by their peers. In all, 120 teachers at six struggling Jefferson County public schools were given the news Thursday they wouldn't be coming back next fall -- part of a district plan to help turn around the schools by replacing up to 60 percent of their faculty. The plan will replace 26 to 60 percent of the teachers at Frost and Western middle schools and at Fern Creek, Shawnee, Valley and Western high schools. (C-J)

Prichard Committee recognizes Representative Moberly for service to education: The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence has recognized state Rep. Harry Moberly, D-Richmond, with its Award of Excellence for his commitment to Kentucky education. Moberly's "insight, determination and intellect have steered the state on a course toward educational excellence," the committee said in recognizing the veteran legislator, and "his life of public service has made a positive, lasting change for thousands of Kentuckians and has helped ensure a brighter future for individuals and the state as a whole."Moberly is retiring after serving 30 years in the Kentucky General Assembly. (Prich)

House, Senate leaders say budget compromise likely - Special session to consider compromise: House and Senate leaders say there is enough support in both chambers to pass a proposed state budget compromise unveiled by Gov. Steve Beshear last week. A special legislative session on the budget is scheduled to begin Monday. After weeks of haggling, the House and Senate could not come to an agreement on a budget compromise before the legislature adjourned on April 15. Senate President David Williams said Tuesday that the Republican-controlled Senate can support Beshear's $17.1 billion two-year proposed budget, which includes 3.5 percent cuts in the first year and 4.5 percent cuts in the second year. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said some concerns still need to be worked out, but he said he thought the Democratic-controlled House could support most of what Beshear unveiled last week as a compromise budget. That plan includes less severe cuts to key areas of the budget, including K-12 education, higher education, Medicaid, state police and prosecutors and public defenders. The proposal would not cut the main funding formula for schools, but it would have school districts pick up the cost of one school day. Beshear's proposal included the Senate's cuts but did not include construction projects sought by the House, with the exception of about $5.6 million to replace the state's worst school buildings, commonly called Category 5 schools. (H-L)

High school science teacher ousts long-time State Rep. Charlie Siler: The third time proved to be a charm for state representative candidate Dewayne Bunch. The Whitley County school teacher ousted long-time 82nd District Rep. Charlie Siler in Tuesday’s Republican primary election by 123 votes. (The Times-Tribune )

Alleged threat brings attorney to school board: An attorney representing the mother of a Corbin Middle School student spoke before the Corbin Board of Education Thursday night, alleging that the school and district failed to properly handle a situation involving a threatening note. According to attorney Chris Haden with Bahe Cook Cantley & Jones of Louisville, Evelyn Williams’ daughter found a threatening note in her middle school classroom on March 25. The note had been found after class was dismissed, lying near the classroom recycling bin.“The note specifically threatens to kill her,” Haden told the board. “The troubling aspect of this for me is the specific language of it.” (The Times-Tribune)

Mom says School Bus Driver Made Fun Of Girl For Gay Parents - JCPS Officials, Kentucky Equality Federation Investigating: A mother said a Jefferson County school bus driver made fun of her child for having same-sex parents. A Jefferson County Public Schools spokeswoman said an investigation is under way, but the mother wants the bus driver fired. WLKY's Carissa Lawson spoke exclusively with the mother about what she said happened. The mother said the bus driver made the comments on March 31 to her middle school-aged daughter and since it has been over a month with no resolution she is now making her complaint public. "Someone used the word 'fag' very loudly and she thought it was coming from the bus driver," the mother said. (WLKY)

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