Tuesday, May 11, 2021 09:09 AM

2021 Legislative Session Summary

The statements below summarize the legal changes most connected to school councils. The actual bills and all the laws are available from the Legislative Research Commission, www.lrc.ky.gov. New laws take effect June 29, 2021, except bills with an emergency clause that became effective immediately.

Do-Over Year

SB 128  Supplemental School Year 

The “Do-Over” law. Any K-12 student enrolled in a Kentucky public school during the 2020-21 school year may request to use the 2021-22 school year as a supplemental school year to retake or supplement the courses or grades the student has already taken. It also provides that these students shall be eligible to participate for a fifth year in KHSAA activities. It is optional for a school district to participate in this supplemental school year plan. The local board will develop a plan and policies and a council may need to review SBDM policies on student assignment, staff time assignment, scheduling, and space. This law does not impact existing guidelines regarding students who need to repeat a grade for educational reasons.

Civic Education 

SR 57 Resolution Encouraging High School Government Instruction

High Schools are encouraged to annually offer three hours of nonpartisan instruction on the roles and functions of city, county, and state government. The instruction may incorporate attendance at a government meeting, presentation from government officials, or field trip to government buildings. The instruction may be incorporated into classroom instruction, covered in an assembly, etc. 

HCR 25 Civic Education and Legislators as Principal for a Day program

This House resolution supports civic education and declares the third week in September as the kick-off week for America’s Legislators Back to School Program. Legislators are encouraged to participate in the ‘Principal for a Day’ program.   



HB 382 Full Day Kindergarten Funding

The legislature appropriated additional state General Fund dollars on top of what was included in the budget. They added $140 million to provide one year of full-day kindergarten — this is only for one year and not guaranteed in the future. Currently, the state funds half-day kindergarten, and the local school district pays for the other half.    


HB 258 Teachers’ Retirement System New Hires

The hybrid plan creates new sections of the Teachers’ Retirement System for new hires after January 1, 2022 but does not apply to current teachers. The hybrid contains part guaranteed defined retirement benefits, part supplemental plan, and retiree medical benefits. 

School Choice

HB 563 School Choice/Scholarship Tax Credits  

HB 563 has two main parts. First, it requires a local board of education to adopt a nonresident student policy and not discriminate when admitting nonresident students. Second, it creates Education Opportunity Accounts for tax credits for private school tuition, instructional materials, transportation costs, technology, and virtual classes. This law allows tax funding to be diverted to private school tuition in eight counties: Jefferson, Fayette, Kenton, Boone, Hardin, Warren, Daviess, and Campbell. 

Student Health 

SB 127   School Rescue Asthma Inhalers

Schools are encouraged to keep rescue inhalers for asthma in at least two locations. If the school keeps the inhalers, then school policies and procedures regarding their use must be in place. The law allows immunity from civil liability for personal injury for the administration, prescription, filling, and storage of asthma rescue inhalers. 

SB 8 Exemptions to Pandemic Vaccinations  

This law exempts anyone from a mandatory vaccination based on religious beliefs. Allows anyone to be exempted from a pandemic vaccination based on health concerns, religious grounds, or conscientiously held beliefs.

Open Records

HB 312 Open Records Law 

There were several amendments to the open records law, including: limits ability of out-of-state persons to obtain open records; allow requests to be made by email; standardized form to be developed but not required to be used; allow government agencies up to five days to respond to open records requests.

Board Removal

HB 331 Removal of School Board Members

The Kentucky Board of Education no longer has the authority to remove local school board members for misconduct in office or interference with school councils. The Attorney General continues to have authority to remove school board members.


SB 10 Commission on Race and Access to Opportunity

SB 10 establishes a Commission on Race and Access to Opportunity for the purpose of conducting studies and research to identify areas to improve services and opportunities for minority communities. The members will be appointed by the legislature, hold monthly meetings, and publish an annual report.