- School districts will be allowed, but not required, to grant additional emergency leave in addition to the three days of standard emergency leave outlined in state statute if the recommended regulation is approved by the KBE.
- The council recommends the adoption of the Kentucky School for the Blind and the Kentucky School for the Deaf policies, as well as Kentucky Tech’s policies and procedures.
By Jacob Perkins
Members of the Local Superintendents Advisory Council (LSAC) voiced their approval of a recommendation for emergency regulations during a virtual meeting July 28 that will give districts more flexibility.
Mandated by KRS 156.007, new regulations must first go through the LSAC before Interim Education Commissioner Kevin C. Brown can seek approval from the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE).
The Kentucky General Assembly passed Senate Bill 177 (2020) during its last session. Part of this legislation gave districts the flexibility to grant additional emergency leave to employees as a result of COVID-19. However, this legislation was only applicable to the 2019-2020 school year.
“Unfortunately, we are not through COVID-19 as we had hoped we would be,” said Todd Allen, interim general counsel for the Kentucky Department of Education. “There is some need that we’ve heard from school districts and staff for additional flexibility around district employee emergency leave.”
The emergency regulation, 702 KAR 1:190E, is very similar to SB 177 regarding emergency leave, said Allen. The regulation provides school districts with the option to grant additional emergency leave.
School districts will be allowed, but not required, to grant additional emergency leave in addition to the three days of standard emergency leave outlined in state statute. The additional emergency leave is only allowed for the 2020-2021 school year and the leave must be related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as decided by the local school district.
“This is paid leave,” Allen explained. “Because school districts have the ability to grant it, it’s going to have a financial impact on the school district if they choose to move forward with providing this type of leave.”
To avoid long-term financial impacts on districts, this leave cannot accumulate, be transferred into any other types of paid leave or carry over beyond the 2020-2021 school year.
Allen added that KDE heard from many school districts expressing their interest in having this additional flexibility put in place in the event they needed to provide leave for their employees related to the COVID-19 emergency.
The second regulation approved by the LSAC for recommendation to the KBE was an emergency amendment to 702 KAR 7:140E, School Calendar. This amendment allows for an additional 30 minutes each day to be counted toward instructional hours for activities conducted by districts related to COVID-19.
COVID-19-related activities include, but are not limited to, cleaning, sanitizing, hand washing, taking of temperatures, and instructing students on the use of masks and social distancing.
The additional 30 minutes can be used at any point throughout the day.
“We have heard repeatedly from local school districts that they needed some additional time built into their instructional hours that would not necessarily require them to lengthen the day,” said Associate Commissioner Robin Kinney of KDE’s Office of Finance and Operations.
Due to the emergency nature of these regulations, there will not be a second reading by the LSAC and the regulations will be presented to the KBE at its Aug, 6 meeting for approval.
In addition to approving the recommendation of emergency regulations, the council gave its approval of four proposed regulation changes that Brown will recommend to the KBE:
- An amendment to 702 KAR 4:090, Property Disposal: This amendment clarifies the process a school district must follow to dispose of real property through sale, lease or easement. The amendment provides districts with a clear pathway and an understanding of the process and requirements to dispose of property without reliance on program area staff for explanation.
- An amendment 702 KAR 7:065: This amendment incorporates revisions recommended by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) Board of Control, including amendments to the KHSAA Bylaws.
- An amendment to 704 KAR 3:303, Required Academic Standards: As a result of the revision of technology standards set forth in a new administrative regulation – 704 KAR 8:090, Required Kentucky Academic Standards (KAS) for Technology – this amendment will strike out all former references to the previous technology standards.
- An amendment to 704 KAR 8:090, KAS for Technology: This new administrative regulation establishes new KAS for Technology.
The council also heard the following proposed regulation changes, which will go before the KBE as first readings at its Aug. 6 meeting:
- New regulation for KAS for Library Media Elective: This regulation would create KAS for Library Media. The standards would be optional and be sectioned into grade bands K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.
- An amendment to 701 KAR 5:150, Nontraditional Instruction (NTI) Program: This amendment would change the way districts submit NTI applications. Beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, districts would incorporate their NTI plan within their Comprehensive District Improvement Plan.
- An amendment to 704 KAR 3:325, Effective Instructional Leadership Act: This amendment updates language to align instructional leadership training program and provider content to the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders.
- An amendment to 704 KAR 3:305, Minimum Requirements for High School Graduation: In addition to updating language and due to concerns of a lack of access and opportunity, this amendment would remove graduation qualifiers from Section 4 of the regulation.
- An amendment to 704 KAR 3:035, Annual Professional Development Plan: This amendment updates the language to align to KRS 158.6451.
- An amendment to 707 KAR 1:340, Procedural Safeguards: With this amendment, sections 3 and 4 of the regulation will clarify the difference between an Admission and Release Committee’s (ARC) meeting notice to parents and prior written notice. A meeting notice is a notice to parents that an ARC meeting will be scheduled. A prior written notice, on the other hand, is a notice of proposed or refused action. This amendment also would delete Section 18 from the regulation so KDE can update it and make it more fluid.
The council recommends the adoption of to the Kentucky School for the Blind and the Kentucky School for the Deaf policies, as well as Kentucky Tech’s policies and procedures. These items are up for annual review and were vetted by advisory groups at each of the three entities.
The LSAC will meet again on Sept. 29.
MORE INFO …
- Kentucky Department for Public Health’s COVID-19 webpage
- KDE’s COVID-19 webpage
- KDE’s COVID-19 Reopening Guidance webpage
- Kentucky COVID-19 Hotline (800) 722-5725