(FRANKFORT, KY) – The Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) voted Feb. 6 to pass a resolution requesting the Kentucky General Assembly to form a task force in 2019 focused on making structural and funding reforms in career and technical education in Kentucky ahead of the 2020 biennial budget session.
During a presentation to the KBE, Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis said that existing statutes, regulations and existing funding levels pose a number of challenges for making funding determinations for locally operated area technical centers.
Additionally, Lewis acknowledged that decision made by the Kentucky Department of Education during the past five to 10 years – intended to protect funding for already existing programs – has resulted in many pathways at local centers across the state not being funded. These unfunded pathways are commonly in Kentucky’s high-demand industries, such as advanced manufacturing, business and information technology, construction, healthcare, and transportation and logistics, which is leaving the state’s workforce underserved.
Current budget language gives the commissioner the authority to approve requests from locally operated technical centers established since 2001, for which statute does not provide funding.
“We have numerous funding requests from programs across the state, and while I could approved those requests, that would result in pulling funding from other existing programs,” said Lewis. “I have not yet made decisions about approving those requests, but if I open that process, I struggle to see how I would pick just one or even a few. All of them are doing really impressive work.”
Accountability System Amendments
In other business, the board also voted to approve statements of consideration and amendments to the state’s accountability system for reporting.
Amendments to the accountability regulation, 703 KAR 5:270, came as a result of the recent public comment period. Amendments included simplifications to the system in the areas of:
- Achievement gap closure
- Quality of school climate and safety
- Overall accountability weights
- Removal of rating charts (these examples of performance are no longer needed with exact weights)
After a lengthy discussion, the board approved exact weights for the indicators included in the accountability system. Weights are a necessary and integral part of Kentucky’s 5-star school accountability rating system. The weights are an indication of the intended policy value/emphasis for each indicator. A range of weights were used last year and they created confusion amongst districts.
The Kentucky Board of Education also approved the following actions during Wednesday’s meeting:
- 704 KAR 8:060, Revision of Academic Standards in Social Studies (Second Reading)
- 704 KAR 3:303, Revision of Kentucky Academic Standards (Second Reading)
- 704 KAR 7:081, Repeal of 704 KAR 7:080, Ride to the Center for the Arts Program Fund (Second Reading)
- 703 KAR 5:211, Repeal of 703 KAR 5:200, Next Generation Learners
- Amendment to 702 KAR 1:160, School Health Services (Second Reading)
- New District Facility Plan
- District Facility Plan Amendment
- 2019 Local District Tax Rates Levied
The KBE also voted to amend the April 10 KBE meeting location to Kentucky Education Development Corporation, 904 Rose Road, Ashland, and the October KBE meeting location to the Laurel County Center for Innovation, 1100 East 4th Street, London.