A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

KDE to do all it can to protect students, but Pruitt warns of potential diminishing returns academically

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt told the Senate Appropriations and Revenue committee Tuesday that Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposal for mid-year spending cuts and further reductions over the next two years will make it hard to avoid a negative impact in the state’s public school classrooms. Mirroring remarks they made last week to a House K-12 budget...

Budget’s proposed nine percent across-the-board reduction will touch many but not all K-12 programs

The big news for Kentucky public schools from Tuesday’s release of Gov. Matt Bevin’s first state budget proposal was covered by the mainstream media: $1.1 billion in new funding to shore up the KTRS and KRS pensions for teachers and other state workers, and a slight increase in SEEK funding that reflects more students enrolled, thus maintaining the current per-pupil state support level. The governor’s...

More than 100 Kentucky school systems still closed in wake of last week’s two winter storms

For the second time this winter, more than 100 of Kentucky’s 173 public school districts have darkened classrooms after officials determined that road conditions remain too unsafe following two snow storms last Wednesday and Friday. A small number of districts announced that the closings so far this year have eaten up their previously scheduled makeup days. That means some tough decisions on calendar...

Dedication to excellence, willingness to change makes state education system strong, Pruitt says

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward In what is to become an annual event for him, Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt Thursday issued his inaugural State of K-12 Public Education in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, saying the status is “strong (because) Kentucky has had dedication to excellence in education for all and a willingness to embrace change when it really needed to.” Employing aspects...

Winter keeps firm grip on the Commonwealth, most schools closed again due to snow

The winter of 2016 isn’t releasing its grip on Kentucky school districts this week, with most schools closed for a second day and an even larger storm predicted for some parts of the Commonwealth starting early Friday. According to news media outlets linked on the KSBA winter closing web page, students are missing classes Thursday in at least 140 school systems. That compares to more than 160 districts...

Commentary: Disconnect between school leaders, legislators could mean lost opportunities in 2016

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward It was a moment that was, for me, at first surprising, but upon further reflection, downright astonishing. It was even a bit embarrassing. At a recent regional educational cooperative meeting, a state legislator, talking with superintendents about communications between educators and lawmakers, made the following statement: “I’ve never been contacted by a single...

Legislative Outlook 2016: Much is at stake for public education as General Assembly opens new session

By Madelynn Coldiron Special to KyForward There is one sure thing going into the 2016 session of the Kentucky General Assembly: that there is no sure thing. “With the ever-changing dynamics in the legislature, a new commissioner and a new governor, I have never had so many question marks beside a legislative session this close to the beginning,” KSBA Governmental Relations Director Hope McLaughlin...

Proposed settlement a multimillion dollar reduction for districts served by LG&E, KU

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward   A settlement involving a coalition of schools, led by the Kentucky School Boards Association, is on track to win reductions in proposed utility rate increases, and could provide continuation of funding to support school energy-efficiency efforts.   Late Tuesday, Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities announced an agreement with schools,...

FCPS board hopes to have interim before Shelton leaves, new chief in place July 1

Tom Shelton The Fayette County Board of Education met last night for the first time since Superintendent Tom Shelton announced his resignation last Thursday (see KyForward story). Following the meeting, board chair John Price sent a letter updating employees, families and community members about the process to select a new schools chief. Among the highlights:   ‣ The board hopes to have...

Education department making push for public comment – and understanding – of standards

Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday announces the Kentucky Core Academic Standards Challenge during a press conference at Woodford County High School. (Photo by Amy Wallot)   By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward   The Kentucky Department of Education Monday launched a major push to get teachers, parents and others to learn more about the state’s English/language arts and math academic...

Stu Silberman: Our Kids Can’t Wait – need better funding for Kentucky schools now

The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence held its Education Summit in Lexington this week, bringing together hundreds of education advocates from across the state. Speaking on behalf of KEAT (Kentucky Education Action Team) advocates, Stu Silberman, executive director of the Prichard Committee, kicked off the summit:   A 4-year-old in Eastern Kentucky cannot attend a public preschool like...

Stu Silberman: Our Kids Can't Wait – need better funding for Kentucky schools now

The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence held its Education Summit in Lexington this week, bringing together hundreds of education advocates from across the state. Speaking on behalf of KEAT (Kentucky Education Action Team) advocates, Stu Silberman, executive director of the Prichard Committee, kicked off the summit:   A 4-year-old in Eastern Kentucky cannot attend a public preschool like...

Kentucky Dept. of Ed. delays assessment of updated science standards until 2016

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward   The Kentucky Department of Education is delaying assessment of the new science standards that have sparked public and legislative debate until at least the 2016 academic year. Similar delays are planned for incorporating testing of world language program reviews in elementary schools and still-in-development social studies standards into the Unbridled Learning...

Kentucky Dept. of Ed. delays assessment
of updated science standards until 2016

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward   The Kentucky Department of Education is delaying assessment of the new science standards that have sparked public and legislative debate until at least the 2016 academic year. Similar delays are planned for incorporating testing of world language program reviews in elementary schools and still-in-development social studies standards into the Unbridled Learning...

State, social workers, school boards create new 'Educational Passport' for foster kids

Kentucky children in foster care will now be able to quickly and easily access their education records, no matter where they may live, which will reduce unnecessary interruptions or delays in their schooling.   Representatives from the Kentucky Department of Education and the Department for Community Based Services, with input from the Kentucky School Boards Association, have developed a mutually...

ACLU threatens to sue Ky. school systems that allow distribution of religious materials

Special to KyForward   The ACLU of Kentucky has notified Kentucky superintendents to halt the distribution of religious materials, including Gideon Bibles, or the organization will take the school systems to court. And the ACLU’s top lawyer has issued a series of recommended changes in district policy and practices relating how decisions are made on what materials may be made available to students...

Kentucky schools face greater fiscal woes beyond 2013-14, state education board told

By Brad Hughes Special to KyForward   Kentucky public schools are reopening for the 2013-14 year with tens of millions of fewer federal dollars for everything from intervention aid for struggling students to fewer special education staff and reduced after-school programs. The impact of the Budget Control Act may be relatively limited this year, but that will rapidly change unless Congress alters...

KDE to school districts: Prepare to lose nearly
$32 million in U.S. funds under sequestration

State officials trying to help school budget planners deal with the uncertainties of the federal sequestration made two points very clear this week: No cuts will take place over the final three months of this school year, but now is the time to “be conservative” in budgets down the road.   Sequestration is a spending policy agreed to by Congress in 2011 to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2...

KDE to school districts: Prepare to lose nearly $32 million in U.S. funds under sequestration

State officials trying to help school budget planners deal with the uncertainties of the federal sequestration made two points very clear this week: No cuts will take place over the final three months of this school year, but now is the time to “be conservative” in budgets down the road.   Sequestration is a spending policy agreed to by Congress in 2011 to reduce the federal deficit by $1.2...

After string of critical audits of school district finances, greater transparency now sought

In the wake of several critical audits of district finances, Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts Adam Edelen has recommended a series of actions to inject greater transparency in the evaluations of superintendents by local school boards. And in a Frankfort news conference Thursday, officials of the state Department of Education endorsed the proposals, saying they will be incorporated in already planned...