A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Rose at 30: The landmark Supreme Court decision that changed the course of Ky public education

By Brenna R. Kelly Kentucky School Boards Association Jack Moreland had been expecting a call on the morning of June 8, 1989. It had been six months and one day since the Dayton Independent superintendent had watched an attorney representing his and 65 other school districts ask the Kentucky Supreme Court to force the state to adequately fund public education. As superintendent of Dayton Independent,...

House health panel’s new chair, Kim Moser, starts fast with bills to ban tobacco at schools and more

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News State Rep. Kim Moser plans a busy first meeting as chair of the House Health and Family Services Committee on Thursday, Feb. 7. She says she has the votes to approve bills to make schools tobacco-free, urge medical-marijuana research, and make it easier to get treatment for addiction. “Those are all issues that we continue to talk about and have taken a...

Advocates hoping this is the year lawmakers move to throw tobacco and e-cigarettes out of Ky. schools

At a Jan. 22 rally in the state Capitol, students, educators and health advocates asked Kentucky lawmakers to pass a law to make all schools in the state 100 percent free of tobacco and electronic cigarettes. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, said passing such a law should be a “no-brainer” for state elected officials who are committed to kids. “Many issues...

Michael J. Schmitt: PSC Chairman explains process for consideration of rate increase requests

Many Kentuckians may be unaware of the role of the Public Service Commission (PSC) in their daily lives Paraphrasing our mission statement, the PSC fosters the safe, reliable service of utilities to customers at a price that is both reasonable and also allows for the financial stability of the regulated utilities.This includes rates and service for a myriad of utilities, including electricity, natural...

Bourbon County Schools becomes state’s newest district declared 100 percent Energy Star certified

The Kentucky School Boards Association announced Tuesday that Bourbon County Schools has joined the growing list of Kentucky school districts that are 100 percent Energy Star certified, placing the district in the top 25 percent of the most energy-efficient school districts in the nationwide. Bourbon County is the 23rd school district in Kentucky that is 100 percent ENERGY STAR. Bourbon County High...

Nearly 90 percent of Kentucky adults want schools tobacco-free, will this be the year for a statewide law?

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Most Kentucky adults, by far, want schools to be tobacco-free — and bills to do just that have been introduced in the Senate and the House. The latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll, taken Oct. 24 to Dec. 2, found that 87 percent of Kentucky adults favor tobacco-free campuses. Support was strong across party lines, with 89 percent of Democrats, 87 percent...

KSBA to recognize 400th Energy Star School, state’s top five energy efficient schools at state capitol

The Kentucky School Boards Association will recognize the 400th Energy Star School and the top five energy-efficient school districts in Kentucky during a press conference at 1 p.m. today in the Capitol Rotunda. “It has been remarkable what has been done,” KSBA Executive Director Kerri Schelling said. “School boards have made decisions impacting facility energy consumption and school...

KY PSC decision reduces total burden on Kentucky Power Co. residential ratepayers through 2018

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has trimmed by about four-fifths of a base rate increase sought by Kentucky Power Co., and has substantially scaled back the company’s demand-side management (DSM) programs and the customer surcharges that pay for those programs. The net effect of the two orders issued Thursday will be that residential customers using the same amount of electricity will...

School Boards Association says it will support any legislation to make all schools in state tobacco-free

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Usually opposed to statewide mandates on schools, the Kentucky School Boards Association says it will support any legislation that proposes a statewide tobacco-free school law in the 2018 legislative session, because the majority of its members support such a law. “We really try to protect local decision-making on these things,” Eric Kennedy, director...

Commentary: Major education association leaders respond to latest state pension reform proposals

Casey Allen, Bo Matthews, David Webster, Stephanie Winkler and Cherie Dimar Special to KyForward Providing the best learning opportunities we can to each and every child is among the most important functions of our state government. In fact, this is among the only constitutional requirements of our General Assembly. As representatives of educators, local school leaders and parents, we believe it is...

David Webster: October is Energy Awareness Month and reduced usage helps bottom line of KY schools

As we kick off what has traditionally been Energy Awareness Month, it is important to note the impact lowered energy usage can have on not only the environment, but also on the finances of public entities. Nowhere is the impact clearer than in Kentucky’s schools. The Kentucky School Boards Association has worked with local school districts since 2010 to better manage the energy usage in their buildings....

Makeup of Kentucky Board of Education, Professional Standards Board, others will change

By Brad Hughes and Madelynn Coldiron Kentucky School Boards Association Last Friday, Gov. Matt Bevin announced a series of reorganizations involving both policy making and advisory bodies related to K-12 and higher education, including the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) and the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB). The governor’s executive order also establishes a charter school advisory...

Commentary: All schools can have charter-like autonomy if they also accept charter accountability

By Gary Houchens Special to KyForward During Kentucky’s debate over becoming the 44th state to allow charter schools, and especially since the charter law successfully passed the state’s General Assembly in March, I have often heard public school advocates ask why, if autonomy seems to be a key to charter school success, shouldn’t all schools – including those operated by public...

Commentary: Public officials should be able to disagree with each other without being disagreeable

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward The 2017 session of the Kentucky General Assembly has adjourned sine die, and it didn’t come a day too soon. I’ve observed legislative sessions – up close and at a distance – for more than four decades, and the 2017 session will live in my memory for two items of irony: — The discussion of requiring all high school graduates in Kentucky to pass a civics...

KSBA school energy program earns fourth straight federal ENERGY STAR partner recognition

The Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA) has been named a 2017 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award winner for continued leadership in protecting the environment through superior energy efficiency achievements. KSBA’s accomplishments on behalf of Kentucky’s public schools will be recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy...

Pruitt says rewrite of federal, state laws won’t hinder recent work to create new accountability system

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt says the year-long work to redesign Kentucky’s school accountability system isn’t threatened by either Senate Bill 1 – still pending in the 2017 legislature – which will dictate some aspects of the system, or by the Trump administration drafting new regulations on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) after Congress...

Republican senators scale back statewide smoke-free efforts to cover just public schools, activities

Two Republican state senators who couldn’t make progress toward a statewide smoke-free law are shooting for a lesser goal: a ban on use of tobacco products on public school property or at any school-sponsored activity. “It’s the first time to be presented to the legislature, but we are optimistic that it will become law,” Sen. Ralph Alvarado, a Winchester physician, told the Lexington Herald-Leader....

Coach at Heart: Superintendent of the Year Henry Webb uses sports background in current position

By Mike Marsee Special to KyForward “Coach” hasn’t been in Henry Webb’s job title in more than a dozen years, but he is still very much a coach at heart. As superintendent of the Floyd County schools, Webb is responsible for what he calls Team Floyd, which is working to ensure a better future for children in the county that is his home. “The heart of a coach’s job is to make people better...

Pruitt: Charter schools coming to state, approval should begin with local board of education

By Brad Hughes Kentucky School Boards Association Commissioner of Education Stephen L. Pruitt said that he believes charter schools are in Kentucky’s immediate future, and that “definitions” spelled out in any law coming out of the 2017 General Assembly will be critically important. He also said Kentucky will take advantage of a U.S. Department of Education (USED) decision last week to give states...

Bevin to appoint nearly half of state school board, professional standards board soon

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward Gov. Matt Bevin is about to have a significant impact on elementary and secondary education policy direction in the Commonwealth when he makes multiple appointments to the Kentucky Board of Education and the Education Professional Standards Board. And a lack of action during the 2016 General Assembly means the governor will be making appointments to nearly half of...