Menifee County Schools go under state management

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The Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) has approved Education Commissioner Terry Holliday’s recommendation to put the Menifee County school district under state management.

“I do not make a recommendation for state management lightly,” Commissioner Holliday said. “However, it is absolutely critical and necessary in order to meet the education needs of the children in Menifee
County.”

In 2014, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) conducted a management audit of the Menifee Co. school district. The audit identified a pattern of a significant lack of efficiency and effectiveness in the governance and administration of the school district in multiple areas including planning, operational support, fiscal management, personnel administration and instructional management.

At that time, the commissioner recommended the Kentucky Board of Education put the district under state assistance, which the state board did in December 2014. Since then, KDE has provided management assistance to the district to develop and implement a plan to correct deficiencies. But because the correctional plan was not being adequately developed and implemented, in accordance with KRS 158.785, the commissioner recommended state management of the Menifee Co. school district.

Under state management, the commissioner of education or his designee exercises all administrative, operational, financial, personnel and instructional management of the district formerly exercised by the local school board and superintendent.

While originally opposed to state management, Superintendent Benny Patrick pledged to the Kentucky Board of Education during the July 10 meeting that he will “make every effort that God gives me” and “give anyone interested in helping the district his full support to make sure every child in the district has the best opportunity.”

The Menifee County Board of Education will be required to develop an improvement plan that includes specific objectives and strategies to correct deficiencies and identify local board and individual administrative staff responsibilities and activities.

Under KRS 158.785, the district will be designated as “state-managed” until the Kentucky Board of Education determines that the pattern of ineffectiveness and inefficiency has ended and the deficiencies identified through the management audit have been addressed. State management may not continue for more than three years unless a follow-up management audit indicates a need.

Breathitt County is the only other district under state management.

In other action, the board placed the Danville Independent school district on probation as a District of Innovation. The board originally approved Danville Independent as a District of Innovation in 2013. The designation provides a district flexibility from selected Kentucky Administrative Regulations, Kentucky Revised Statutes and local board of education policies for school administrators, teachers, and staff to meet the diverse needs of students for the purposes of improving students’ educational performance.

“I’ve been pointing at you for some time to say here is a district doing some things that I think we as a state should be strongly considering in order to move forward with implementing instruction and the way we assess student knowledge and skills,” KBE chair Roger Marcum said.

In the past year the district has seen three new board members and a new superintendent. A KDE review shows that in the 2014-15 school year, Danville Independent did not meet the requirements of implementation of its innovation plan. So, per 701 KAR 5:140, the Kentucky Board of Education placed Danville Independent on probation as a District of Innovation.

“It’s really more of a recalibration,” said board member Mary Gwen Wheeler. “We’re trying to get back
together to where we have a shared set of expectations.”

The implementation of a proposed corrective action plan will assist the district in resuming its
compliance with its innovation plan and in continuing to improve proficiency. The Kentucky Board of Education also heard an update on District of Innovation progress in Eminence Independent, Jefferson County and Taylor County

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