Local Superintendents Advisory Members discuss security risk assessment tool

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Local Superintendents Advisory Council Virtual Meeting, May 26, 2020 

(FRANKFORT, KY) – Members of the Local Superintendents Advisory Council discussed details of a new school security risk assessment tool during a virtual meeting May 26.

The school security risk assessment tool is required by the School Safety and Resiliency Act passed by the legislature in 2019. The Kentucky Center for School Safety is required by the law to approve the tool, which assesses schools’ compliance with required safety and security measures.

According to State School Security Marshal Ben Wilcox, his office developed the tool with assistance from the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), the Kentucky Center for School Safety and law enforcement agencies. He said while the risk assessment tool is an instrument to gauge how compliant schools are with the act, most importantly it is an instrument used to assist schools and not punish them.

“The real strength of the tool comes from the collaboration of so many stakeholders to make this tool the most user friendly, versatile and understandable as possible,” Wilcox said.

Bill Buchanan, program consultant in the Office of Special Education and Early Learning, reviewed the new “per-child” rates for at-risk children and children with disabilities.

“While funds are allocated to districts based on per-child rates, districts may use funds to address the needs of the entire preschool program,” Buchanan said.

Superintendents were encouraged to consider the needs of their preschool program when making tough choices associated with reopening schools. In anticipation of an increase in the number of children eligible for services, school districts may consider strengthening partnerships with Head Start and child care to meet the needs of all at-risk children in their communities. Buchanan also said that the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) funding may be used to support preschool program planning.

“High quality preschool is the foundation of school success. Preschool is associated with higher levels of school readiness, including long term academic outcomes and health outcomes,” Buchanan said.

The council gave its approval of two proposed regulation changes that Interim Education Commissioner Kevin C. Brown will recommend to the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) at its June 3 meeting:

  • An amendment to the regulation governing the school security risk tool that would incorporate by reference the risk assessment tool into a KBE regulation. This is a second reading of the amendment; revisions presented since the first reading were approved by the Kentucky Center for School Safety (KCSS) board of directors at its April 29 meeting. The risk assessment tool is used by compliance officers from the Office of the State School Security Marshal to collect school-level information.
  • An amendment to the regulation governing the evaluation of charter school authorizers that would allow local boards of education to delay charter school authorizer training until they receive an application. This is a second reading of the amendment; revisions presented since the first reading include amending the training requirements for charter school authorizers, which currently are the 172 local boards of education in Kentucky, to alleviate hardships on school districts and local board of education members as well as to align with SB 158 (2020).

The council also heard the following proposed regulation changes which will go before the KBE as first readings at its June 3 meeting:

  • An amendment that clarifies the process a school district must follow to dispose of real property through sale, lease or easement. The proposed regulation amendment will provide districts with a clear pathway and understanding of the process and requirements to dispose of property without reliance on program area staff for explanation.
  • An amendment that incorporates revisions recommended by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) Board of Control, including amendments to the KHSAA Bylaws.
  • A new regulation to incorporate by reference the revised and renamed Kentucky Academic Standards (KAS) for Technology. The standards address the requirements listed in 704 KAR 3:305, Minimum High School Graduation Requirements and the Individual Learning Plan (ILP), and outline a student’s demonstrated performance-based competency in technology.

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