(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – At its regularly scheduled April meeting, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) received an update on new education laws passed by the 2017 General Assembly.
House Bill 520 allows non-religious public charter schools for the first time in Kentucky. Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt said work has already started at the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) to prepare for the establishment of charters.
“We’re going to embrace it, we’re going to tell folks in the field this can be another tool in the tool belt. We’re just going to move forward and we’re going to do good things for kids at the end of the day,” Pruitt said.
It will now be up to the Kentucky Board of Education to develop regulations that will:
- guide the student application, lottery and enrollment process;
- establish a process to evaluate the performance of a charter school authorizer; and
- establish a renewal and revocation process for charter authorizers.
The board also will need to establish a regulation on the transfer of funds from a local district to a charter school as provided in HB 471.
Pruitt said given the regulatory process and the lead time required to approve and establish a charter, the first charter schools are not expected to open in Kentucky until at least the 2018-19 school year.
The other major legislation to come out of the 2017 session is Senate Bill 1 – a comprehensive measure that among other things:
- establishes a formal process for reviewing and revising academic standards and the alignment of corresponding assessments every six years starting in 2017-18;
- requires a college admissions exam to assess English, reading, math, social studies and science in the spring of grade 10 and the spring of grade 11;
- mandates KDE pay the cost of any assessment taken by a high school student for attaining an industry recognized certification, credential or licensure:
- if the student consecutively completes at least two related career pathway courses approved by the department prior to taking the assessment;
- if a high school student has not completed the two-course requirement but meets performance-based experience eligibility and passes an assessment, KDE must provide a weighted reimbursement amount to the school district for the cost of the assessment based on the level of demand of the certificate, credential or license earned;
- requires KBE to monitor and periodically review the implementation of a local school district’s turnaround plan for a school identified for comprehensive support and improvement;
- requires a new accountability system that must include an annual overall summative performance evaluation of each school and district compared to goals established by the KDE;
- eliminates a state personnel evaluation system;
- eliminates program reviews and program audits for arts and humanities, practical living skills and career studies, and the writing program, and eliminates their inclusion in the state accountability system.
Information on the remainder of the bills approved is available online. Those bills with an emergency provision take effect immediately on the signature of the Governor. The rest will take effect on June 29.
Also at its meeting, the board approved:
- the 2017-18 state plan for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006;
- new district facility plans for Crittenden, Daviess, Fayette and Fleming Counties;
- a request from Fort Thomas Independent for a waiver of 702 KAR 5:060, Section 6(2); and
- the reappointment of Kimberly Parker-Brown to the Kentucky High School Athletics Association Board of Control.
During his report to the board, Commissioner Pruitt announced that after a national search, Kentucky educator Jackie Williams has been selected as principal of the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville.
Also, the board heard a presentation by Trigg County schools on the district’s innovative efforts to implement mastery learning and competency-based education for its students.
The board recognized Kentucky Educational Television and the Central Kentucky YMCA as winners of the Dr. Samuel Robinson Award (see the story here).
Also during the meeting, Breckinridge County ATC students presented handcrafted wood and metal Kentucky Department of Education logos that will hang in KDE offices in Frankfort. Carpentry students began work on the woodcraft late in the fall semester. They first had to design the project, determining how to construct it and which woods would work best.
Students used computers to create a template for the metal work and had to choose the best materials to use based on price and workability.
The logos built by the Breckinridge County students are part of an effort to display students’ art and other works in KDE’s new headquarters. Some items, such as the logos, will be on permanent display, while others will be on loan.
Meeting materials are available on the Kentucky Board of Education portal.
The next regular meeting of the Kentucky Board of Education is scheduled for June 7 in Frankfort.