Current funding for career and technical education (CTE) in Kentucky is inadequate and at critical levels. That’s the conclusion of an independent report presented to the Kentucky Board of Education at its June 3 meeting in Frankfort.

Kentucky funds CTE programs in high schools, locally-operated technical centers (CTCs) and state-operated Area Technology Centers (ATCs) utilizing a combination of federal Perkins funding, state SEEK and general fund dollars.

CTE funding supports essential requirements, such as the purchase and maintenance of 21st century equipment and technology, student assessment and technical skill attainment needs, and professional learning.

The report made six recommendations:

  • base funding for Career and Technical Education on state goals and business and industry needs convene a committee to explore ways of funding state-operated and locally-operated centers equally
  • provide adequate funding for CTE in order to accomplish state determined priorities
  • create a proactive, intentional process of funding large equipment purchases and maintaining/upgrading current equipment
  • allow locally-operated centers and schools to set a budget for the entire school year
  • consider an additional per-pupil funding formula weight tied to state-prioritized occupational and program areas based on state and regional industry needs
  • explore CTE performance funding Several organizational and funding models are in development to improve CTE opportunities for Kentucky students. Currently, 68 percent of all high school students take CTE courses, and the majority of students who concentrate in a CTE pathway graduate college- and career-ready.

In other business, the board heard a plan to reduce the number of students performing at the novice level as a way to reduce the achievement gap. Nearly 81,000 students in grades 3-12 perform at the novice level in reading and in math; 62,450 students in grades 3-12 test at the lowest level of student performance.

The novice reduction plan focuses in four areas: curriculum and standards; instruction; continuous improvement and assessment; and environment and support. The department will be developing web-based resources and increase training for novice reduction. The department also is in the process of hiring a novice reduction coordinator and coaches to work with schools to reduce the number of novice learners.

The board has approved incentives in the accountability model for moving novice performers to the next level and is considering novice reduction as the measure of educator effectiveness in the accountability model. The board is scheduled to take action on the proposal at its August meeting. During today’s meeting, the board reviewed survey feedback on its draft characteristics for Kentucky’s next commissioner of education. A clear majority, 93 percent of respondents, agreed with the board’s draft list of characteristics, which the board finalized. Those characteristics will be used to draw up a position description and in the evaluation of candidates.

Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc., which is guiding the search process, laid out a tentative timetable for hiring the next commissioner of education. The board is scheduled to review initial prospects at its Aug. 5 meeting; conduct round one interviews in mid-August and do final interviews at the end of August.

Also during the meeting, the board approved:

  • new district facility plans for Adair County, Allen County, Ashland Independent, Ballard County, Berea
    Independent, Bracken County, Cloverport Independent, Dayton Independent, Edmonson County, Estill County, Frankfort Independent, Garrard County, Harrison County, Hazard Independent, Henry County, Jackson Independent, Madison County, McCracken County, Morgan County, Rowan County, Simpson County, Spencer County, Trigg County, Union County, Wayne County and West Point Independent School Districts
  • 2016 Kentucky minimum specifications for school buses
  • school district indirect cost rates for fiscal year 2015-16
  • 702 KAR 7:065, Designation of Agent to Manage Middle and High School Interscholastic Athletics and Revisions in Kentucky High School Athletics Association Bylaws
  • the 2014 report, 2014 exceptions and 2016 plan as required by 702 KAR 1:115, Annual In-Service Training of District Board Members
  • FY 2016 Kentucky Education Technology System (KETS) Expenditure Plan
  • Kentucky Education Technology System (KETS) FY 2016 Unmet Need for LEAs
  • 2015-16 preschool funding process and funding rates
  • certification of non-public schools
  • waiver request from Jefferson County Public Schools for 704 KAR 3:303, Required Core Academic Standards
  • 705 KAR 4:041, Work-Based Learning Program Standards
  • Statement of Consideration for 704 KAR 5:020, Common Kindergarten Entry Screener
  • Statement of Consideration for 704 KAR 3:370, as amended, Professional Growth and Effectiveness System

The board appointed Kimberly Barrett, Calloway Co. Middle School; Joseph Harris, Lawrence County High School; Heather Harris, Wurtland Elem (Greenup Co.); and Michele McCloughan, T. C. Cherry Elem. (Bowling Green Independent) to the Kentucky Writing Program Advisory Committee. The board re-appointed Mark E. Thomas, principal of Spencer Co. Elem. to serve as an administrator representative on the State Textbook Commission.