(FRANKFORT, KY) – At its regular meeting on June 5, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) voted unanimously to move Menifee County schools from being under state management to state assistance.

The district has been under state management since July 2015. As a state-managed district, the authority of the local board and the local superintendent rested with the Commissioner of Education. A state manager has handled the day-to-day management of the district. Additionally, the district has received ongoing support from the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE).

KDE recently conducted a management audit of Menifee County schools. After review of the audit report, Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis determined that a pattern of a significant lack of efficiency and effectiveness in the governance and administration of the district continues to exist.

“The evidence collected during the management audit establishes that state assistance is necessary to correct the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness within the district,” said Lewis. “That being said, significant progress has been made in the district, particularly, capacity building with the local board and district leadership, which allows me to recommend that it move from state management to state assistance.

The district waived the option to a hearing to dispute any findings of the management audit. With the move to assistance, authority has been returned to the local board of education and the district superintendent. Tim Spencer, who previously served as state manager, was hired as the district’s superintendent by Lewis.

“The success of Menifee County is due in large part to the leadership of Tim Spencer and his team, and we look forward to seeing what they can accomplish in the next few years,” said Lewis.

Board Discusses Funding Priorities
The KBE also began discussing what its funding priorities would be in the new biennial budget cycle, which will begin July 1, 2020. Lewis said more funding is needed, specifically in key areas such as career and technical education and novice reduction, but there needs to be a comprehensive look at how the state provides public education funding.

“Our policy agenda has and will continue to include advocating for additional strategic investment in public education,” said Lewis. “However, we know Kentucky public schools well enough to know that our challenges include, but go well beyond, funding.”

The board discussed at length the emergency state of budgetary needs for education in Kentucky and the need for there to be more competition between schools for higher levels of achievement.

The board will vote on the biennial budget recommendation in October and the budget request will be submitted to the legislature in November.

Other Business
Slides and background information about topics covered in the meeting can be found on the KBE’s web portal. Also approved during the meeting were:

  • 2018 report, 2018 Exceptions and 2020 Plans as required by 702 KAR 1:115, annual in-service training of district board members;
  • Voluntary certification of non-public schools;
  • Amendments to the Kentucky Tech Policies and Procedures Manual;
  • Preschool grant allotment system and funding rates;
  • New district facility plans (see board website for details);
  • Amendment to 702 KAR 3:130, internal accounting;
  • Approval of indirect cost rates;
  • Approval of capital funds request guidelines;
  • Kentucky minimum specifications for school buses;
  • Amendment to 701 KAR 5:090, teacher disciplinary hearings; and
  • Amendment to 702 KAR 7:065, designation of agent to manage middle and high school interscholastic athletics and revisions to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association bylaws.

The board, as recommended by the awards committee, also voted to approve an awards proposal that aligns the vision, mission and strategic priorities of the KBE and KDE with the board’s annual awards. Chief Communications Officer Jessica Fletcher said the proposal honors the work and legacy of previous board members while recognizing current educators, organizations and stakeholders for extraordinary work. The awards are:

  • Robinson Award for Diversity and Equity in Public Education
  • Grissom Award for Innovation in Special Education
  • Kelly Award for Business and Education Partnerships
  • Karem Award for Excellence in Education Policy

One new award, the Kentucky Board of Education Priority Award, is designed to honor a person or organization who has done outstanding work in a strategic priority area of the board’s choosing. The area of the award and the criteria for the nomination process will be selected in October of each year.

The next regular meeting of KBE will be Aug. 7.