The Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE’s) Local Superintendents Advisory Council (LSAC) approved changes to how districts enroll kindergarten students during its regular meeting on July 25.
The council advises Kentucky’s education commissioner and the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE). The commissioner must submit all proposed administrative regulations and educational policies for review by the council before seeking approval from the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE).
The council approved a proposed regulation change on enrolling students in kindergarten programs. Under the amendment to the regulation, the process for districts enrolling those students will change, but the ages will not.
“This is an attempt to make things a little easier for school districts, to expedite the process,” said Robin Kinney, KDE’s associate commissioner in the Office of Finance and Operations.
According to Kentucky law, a child who is 6 years old or who turns 6 by Aug. 1 must attend public school. A child who is 5 years old or who will turn 5 by Aug. 1 is able to be enrolled in primary school.
A school district may enroll students in kindergarten younger than the usual age requirements, granted they demonstrate sufficient academic, social and developmental progress. These students would be under 5 for first-year enrollment and under 6 for second-year enrollment.
As it currently stands, KDE must approve these enrollments. Changes to the regulation would grant districts the authority to enroll these students without prior KDE approval.
“This just makes sense,” said LSAC Chair Robbie Fletcher, who serves as Lawrence County’s superintendent. “Local districts are going to know those students much better. And it just makes sense for the KDE to review those in the audit process.”
Kinney also discussed a regulation required by Kentucky Senate Bill 3 (2023) that would require districts to adopt liability malpractice insurance policies to cover incidents that occur within certified employees’ course and scope of employment.
Under the regulation, KDE would provide excess liability coverage should liability exceed the district’s limit, establishing a process by which information is obtained from districts to determine if coverage is met. The regulation also would establish a process for requests for proposals for excess coverage so KDE can comply with the bill’s July 1, 2024, date.
“We’ll actually do a survey of districts so we can determine their current coverage, their current limits,” Kinney said.
Districts would be required to report their limits annually, along with any lapses in coverage.
Harrison County Superintendent Harry Burchett raised concerns with the proposed regulation, saying it does not align with his interpretation of the law.
“I certainly would like the time to have board counsel take a look at this,” Burchett said.
The council did not act, electing to review the adoption later.
In other business, the council approved:
- Proposed annual amendments to Kentucky Tech policies and procedures;
- Annual proposed adoptions and amendments to Kentucky School for the Blind and Kentucky School for the Deaf policies;
- A regulations about school district lease agreements; and
- Amendments to 701 KAR 5:110 to reflect the 2024-2030 version of the KETS Master Plan for Education Technology.
The LSAC will meet again on Oct. 10.