(FRANKFORT, KY) – The Kentucky Department of Education’s Local Superintendents Advisory Council (LSAC) approved amendments to draft regulations for state-operated area technology centers’ (ATCs’) certified and equivalent staff compensation plan at its Feb. 1 meeting. This plan includes administrative, teaching, and supervisory employees in the ATCs and a few additional employees in the Office of Career and Technical Education (OCTE) central office.
The regulations set forth in 780 KAR 3:020 were last amended in 2013 before the Kentucky Tech system merged with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) from the Cabinet for Education and Workforce Development.
Leslie Slaughter, executive adviser for the KDE OCTE, said the amendments cover three main categories:
- Making technical changes to outdated terminology, organizational chart structures and ensuring alignment to current statutes;
- Removing references to former practices that are no longer aligned to KDE personnel policies, including references to unclassified staff, as 780 KAR 6:020 specifically addresses provisions for unclassified staff; and
- Removing the salary schedule for certified and equivalent staff now being un-incorporated by reference.
Slaughter said the salary schedule document is best suited to live outside of the regulation framework, due to statutory requirements to update it annually. Proposed amendments within the regulation ensure that the salary schedule will still be approved annually by the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE).
Lawrence County Superintendent Robbie Fletcher asked what other bodies may have the authority to give raises to individuals employed by ATCs through this regulation.
According to KDE Associate Commissioner David Horseman, whenever the budget allows, KDE evaluates the average salaries of the districts surrounding the ATC employees and tries to bring certified or equivalent staff salaries as close as possible. Otherwise, pay increases are congruent to rank change or time of service.
Corbin County Superintendent David Cox expressed concern on mechanisms in place for districts trying to keep high-quality faculty.
“We have waiting lists for three programs right now and we’re booming, but all that is based on the teacher,” said Cox. “There’s teachers that bring the kids in and keep the kids in. There are certain teachers that are in high demand. A welding teacher, for example, may be coveted by three districts and if they bump up the [pay] scale for everybody there, they have a better chance of securing those folks.”
Horseman said some districts have entered into a memorandum of agreement between the district, ATC employees and KDE to help districts keep high-quality employees. Another possible solution for districts is to provide ATC certified employees extended employment days beyond what is initially offered by KDE, allowing the employees to have a secondary pay from the district through working the extended days. Both possible solutions would need to be approved by KDE.
“When I look at the salary schedules and compare those to area districts, [ATC staff] is underpaid as far as salary goes across the board and we have to make significant advancement in this area,” said Harrison County Superintendent Harry Burchett.
Other draft regulations
Matt Ross, policy adviser in the KDE Office of Finance and Operations, discussed amendments to regulation 702 KAR 3:090, which sets forth the requirements for local boards of education when designating a financial institution to serve as a depository of funds.
Pursuant to statute, schools must designate a bank, savings and loan or trust company to serve as a depository for school district funds. The appointed depository must provide collateral to protect district deposits in the event the financial institution fails. Previously, the collateral was limited to a penal sum bond, the maximum amount that can be paid out on a surety bond claim.
KRS 160.570 outlines the requirements for depositories. School districts must appoint a depository for a term not to exceed two years. If the district has accounts exceeding $100,000, it can designate up to three depositories while Jefferson County Public Schools can designate up to six.
Permissible collateral for district deposits are set forth in KRS 41.240 and include bonds and other securities with a face or quoted market value equal to the deposits. Any amount covered under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or federal savings and loan insurance does not have be collateralized.
The board approved the amendment. KBE will review the regulations at their next meeting on Feb. 9.