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CONSIDERATIONS FOR IN-PERSON SBDM MEETINGS
KASC is working on guidelines for how SBDM council meetings would take place in-person once that’s allowed by the Governor’s COVID-19 guidelines. The current state timeline makes it appear that by May 25 it might be allowable for meetings to resume in person, but there hasn’t been guidance specifically about public groups like SBDM councils. We understand that beyond the general SBDM meetings, councils are weighing future options for interviewing.
 
An allowable time based on state guidelines is just the first step — there are still many other issues to consider before you would want to convene meetings in public.
 
Additional considerations before resuming in-person meetings

  • Local limits — Does the local health department or school district have additional limits on in-person meetings or other specific requirements?
  • Council Members — Have you surveyed council members for their comfort-level with an in-person meeting? What will you do if one or more council members prefer not to meet in person?
  • Distancing — Is there a location that can meet the distancing requirements?
  • Sanitizing — Are there supplies and people available to complete sanitization requirements?
  • Attendance for non-council members — Will non-council members be able to attend in-person following state COVID restrictions? Or will the council continue with an online option for non-council members?

Keep in mind that any guidance related to COVID-19 is subject to change based on the numbers of new cases.


MEETINGS CHECKLIST IN DEVELOPMENT

KASC is developing a checklist for in-person meetings that can be used for efficiency, safety, and documentation. We will be seeking collaboration with KDE as well as other education groups on a common checklist for in-person meetings, please help us improve our work by sharing your:

  • questions
  •  suggestions
  • needs

 DRAFT SBDM AGENDAS

As a result of the COVID-19 emergency, the General Assembly enacted SB 150, which temporarily amended the open meetings law. School councils can conduct any meeting, regular or special, by using the video-teleconferencing law KRS 61.826. The Attorney General in an advisory opinion clarified that all video-teleconferencing meetings during this COVID time period must follow the notice requirements of the special meetings laws.  Thus, SBDM regular meetings using video-teleconferencing should send a notice with the meeting date, time, place, and attach an agenda, at least 24 hours before the regular meeting. The Attorney General said that even though the agenda is sent with the notice that the meeting is still a regular and not a special meeting. If the school council wants to discuss an item not on the original agenda, then the members can make this decision to amend the agenda during the regular meeting and record the action in the minutes.  Of course, special meetings must still only discuss items listed on the agenda attached to the meeting notice.

To summarize, all regular and special school council meetings using video-teleconferencing during this COVID emergency must send out notice at least 24 hours in advance with the following specifications:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Location (which could be the teleconferencing link)
  • Agenda:
    • Regular meetings must have an agenda, which can be amended during the meeting. Record changes in the minutes.
    • Special called meetings must have a set agenda. No additions can be made during the meeting, but deletions can occur.

KDE GUIDANCE FOR RESTARTING SCHOOLS

KDE has guidance and webcasts to help prepare for addressing academic gaps when schools restart. The focus is on: 
  • Assessing the academic gaps that exist from 2019-2020 school year;
  • Adjusting 2020-2021 curriculum to address potential knowledge gaps ; and
  • Using formative assessment to inform 2020-2021 instructional decisions.

An introductory webcast from April 29 is archived on KDE Media Portal. The two live webcasts will be May 6 and May 13 from 2-3 p.m. ET. and will be available on the KDE Media Portal


KASC GUIDANCE FOR ONLINE ELECTIONS

April 20, 2020 -- KASC advice is in accordance with the KDE email to SBDM Coordinators on 3/26/20; this version has been improved based on discussions with PTA and feedback from member schools.

As you know, most council terms run June 30 to July 1, so teacher and parent elections are taking place in April and May.

In schools/districts there is a lot of discussion about online elections. KASC has been putting out guidance since March, and we continue to update and refine that information.

THE ITEMS OF GREATEST CONCERN

1) Election Decisions

  • Teachers decide teacher election procedures and conduct the election.
  • Parents decide parent election procedures and conduct the election.

If using online elections, each group will likely need support from school/district personnel, but final decisions must be made by the group in charge of the election.

2) Election Protections

Remember the protections by relating them to the basics of democratic elections.

  • Only eligible voters vote
  • Eligible voters are not prevented from voting
  • Individuals’ votes remain anonymous
  • Voters only vote one time

The voting platform is vital in providing the election protections. KASC did a teacher pilot election with the free version of Survey Monkey. When using other voting platforms be sure they offer the same voting protections. (see Teacher Elections below)


Online SBDM Teacher Election FreebieTeacher Elections

This KASC member freebie (first shared on March 11, 2020) addresses the election protections above. The freebie has steps, with screenshots, for setting up and conducting an election using Survey Monkey, but other platforms may be used and as long as they offer the same protections.

Parent Elections

This KASC teacher election member freebie is applicable for parent elections, BUT additional steps must be taken before your online parent election will meet each of the election protections. (see ideas in the section that follows)

 

PARENT ELECTIONS

If your school’s parent organization wants to have an online election, it will take more planning than a teacher election, and remember, the parent organization makes those decisions. Because of the differences from school to school, there is no best process for all schools. Below is KASC guidance on a possible process that can meet the Election Protections.

Possible Parent Election Process for Online Election
ArrowSet up a dedicated email account for parent election communication
Not required, but makes the communication clearer and less likely to be accidentally deleted
ArrowNominations

A. Information to include

  • who is eligible to serve as a parent member
  • deadline for nominations to be turned in
  • various ways nomination forms can be turned in
  • election date (plus an explanation of the election process, if decided – see section below)
  • details needed from the candidate
    • his/her student(s) in the school for the next school year
    • biographical information to include for voters

B. Communication

  • advertise widely for nomination of candidates — all-call system, email distribution lists, NTI communications, social media, posted on the school’s website, etc. (remember to include parents whose students aren’t in your school this year but will the next)
  • if election details aren’t decided yet, just include the date of the election with that more information will follow


C. Eligibility of nominees
Check the eligibility of each nominee and confirm inclusion on the ballot.

ArrowDeciding and setting up election procedures

A. Election Protections — while developing procedures be sure:

  • Only eligible voters vote
  • Eligible voters are not prevented from voting
  • Individuals’ votes remain anonymous
  • Voters only vote one time


B. Select and set up the voting platform
Ensure the platform can be set up with the following controls:

  • Eligible teacher voters only
  • Votes remain anonymous
  • Only one vote can be cast per email
  • Be sure a closing and ending date is created, PTA recommends 3-5 business days for voting.

C. Communication

  • share widely, through all-call system, email distribution lists, NTI communications, social media, posted on the school’s website, etc:
    • election dates and deadlines
    • detailed explanation of the voting process, including how to check if a parent is already registered in the voting platform
    • short bios of the candidates
    • a contact person for more information
advise how parents can vote if they do not have access to technology —if okayed by your school and district, you can provide for some votes to cast in person, as long as all the health guidelines can be followed.

ArrowIdentifying and including eligible voters

This is the tricky part for online parent elections. The only way we know to identify eligible voters and have their votes remain anonymous is by using an email in the voting platform. The voting link will go to the email and that email is what will allow a parent to vote.

Think of this in two parts — Work with school personnel to figure out the most efficient way to:

  1. enter the emails of as many eligible parent voters as possible (and have that email linked to student(s) of that eligible voter
  2. check the eligibility of parents who sign themselves up as voters
If a parent email has not already been entered and connected to his/her student(s), the parent will need to register and include:
  • his/her name
  • student(s) name and grade
  • parent role — parent, step parent, legal guardian
  • email address
The parent leaders or school personnel will need a process to check the accuracy of that information before voting is activated. Once voting has taken place there is no way to connect a vote back to a parent email.
ArrowFormat the ballot

Be sure it includes:

  • maximum number of candidates that can be selected by a voter — If there are two parent council member positions, you’ll want to say, “Vote for up to two parents.”
  • each candidate with:
    • a bio (if one was submitted)
    • a place to cast a vote for that candidate
ArrowDouble check the platform controls set up during the “Deciding and setting up election procedures” section
 
ArrowConduct the election
  • send out the emails to eligible voters with:
    • link for casting a ballot
    • reminder of voting dates
    • contact in case of voting issues
    • share widely, through all-call system, email distribution lists, NTI communications, social media, posted on the school’s website, etc. that voting is open and who to contact for more information.
ArrowReview and finalize results

A. KASC recommends 2-3 parents review the final tally in the voting platform and agree when the results are final.

B. Prepare the official results:

  • Take a screenshot or make a PDF
  • List parents who reviewed and agreed upon the final tally


C. Share the results with the principal

D. File the official results in the appropriate place for your school
Parent council member election records should be kept for three years (Kentucky Department of Library and Archives, State Archives and Records Commission’s Public Records Division)

ArrowAnnounce results
  • Contact the parents who were elected
  • Contact the parents who were not selected
  • Make an official announcement with:
    • The names of the parents who were selected
    • A thank you to all the candidates, voters, and organizers

 

As you find effective ways to conduct parent elections, let us know so we can share with other schools.

For nomination forms, announcements, and helpful steps, consider KASC’s Election Toolkit, which can be downloaded by everyone involved through our LMS system.


GRADING ISSUES

KASC has received several questions about whether/how to change policies in regard to grading during this NTI period. This is a complex issue that may or may not involve SBDM councils.

 KRS 160.345(3)(b) indicates local school boards shall adopt policies related to school-based decision making, including “assessment of individual student progress, including testing and reporting of student progress to students, parents, the school district, the community, and the state.” KRS 160.345(4) allows the local board of education to grant to the school-based decision making council any authority permitted by law. As a result, assignment of student grades is a matter determined at the local district level, often by school-based decision making councils.

If your district has granted the authority of assigning student grades to the SBDM council, then you may need to address your policy on grading. If you believe a change may be necessary, please consider the following:

  • Is our policy applicable to what we are doing during NTI days? Must we make any adjustments?
  • What is equitable for all our students at this time?
  • What do our bylaws say about changing policy?
  • How many readings do we need on a policy to make a change?

If adjustments by the council are needed, KASC strongly recommends that your council confer with other school and district leaders, as well as getting feedback from students and families, plus seeking guidance from state experts, as needed. In this unprecedented situation, there can be many unintended consequences which can be quite serious at the high school level. It may be possible to make adjustments that only apply to these NTI days.

On April 7, KDE posted guidance on grading, linked in the information above, as well as:

For all of the latest news on the education front, visit KDE’s COVID-19 Resource page.


 INTERVIEWS

  1. Select a video teleconferencing* platform that will be easily accessible to your members, the public, and candidates.
  2. Send out notice of a special called meeting clearly stating the meeting is a video teleconference,* and make a link available for interested parties to attend. Notify the media if you have requests on hand.
  3. Since you will start and end the meeting in open session and go into closed session for interviews and discussion of candidates, you can create two links/logins. One will be for the open portion of the meeting that you share on the agenda/notification with members, the public, and media. Estimate the earliest time you will return to open session and be sure the open meeting isn’t reactivated BEFORE that time; after is understandable.
  4. Schedule a different Zoom (or other video platform) log-in link/login for the closed portion of the meeting and share that only with the council members (and any additional person who is an official part of the interview).
  5. When returning to open session, record in the minutes that you interviewed and consulted with the council if they were part of the interview.

 If the interview committee doesn’t include the council:

  • The interview committee will still need to follow all of the above.
  • You will need to have a council meeting for consultation after the interviews.

OPEN RECORDS REQUEST

 The COVID-19 law, SB 150, also allows some leniency in open records requests during the state of emergency:

  • Responses for requests should take place within 10 days and not the usual 3 days.
  • Onsite inspection of records can be delayed.

2020 LEGISLATIVE BUDGET UPDATE

The General Assembly adjourned last night on April 15 and will not come back into session until January 2021, unless called into special session by the governor. Most of the laws enacted will take effect in mid-July except for a few bills that had emergency effective dates.

Fortunately, the anti-SBDM bill, SB 7 did not pass the entire legislature although it did pass the Senate. We expect that a similar bill will be filed next year. KASC will continue to educate legislators regarding the essential work done by school councils and the necessity to keep the current law in place. Please share with us your ideas to encourage legislators to Support SBDM.

The legislative highlights this week concern:

  • HB 352 the Executive Budget,
  • SB 158 Accountability changes
  • Kentucky Board of Education Confirmations.

HB 352 Executive Budget: — Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Senate and House adopted a one-year Executive Branch budget instead of the usual two-year budget. The Executive Budget was line-itemed vetoed by the Governor on April 13, but those vetoes were overridden by the General Assembly on April 15.

Major points related to education in this budget include:

  • Most public education spending will remain at the current levels for this upcoming year
  • Teacher pensions will be fully funded
  • SEEK level stay at the current $4000 per year.
  • No appropriation for teacher or staff raises

SB 158 Accountability Changes
Amends Kentucky accountability system; schools would be measured on “status” and “change”; remove the star rating system and replace with school performance being color-coded on dashboard; require the Department of Education to provide audit services and turnaround intervention funds to districts identified for comprehensive support and intervention; revises the definition of ‘achievement gap” on page 46 of the bill to state “the difference between performance goals and actual performance”; CSI schools would be identified every three years; revise criteria for targeted support and improvement and additional targeted support and improvement; remove the principal evaluation and reassignment provisions; remove high school graduation requirement from including a minimum test score on a statewide assessment; allow schools to pick KDE or other option approved by state education leaders to lead turnaround efforts; remove charter school board training unless an application is received.
Passed by both Senate and House and delivered to the Governor on April 15.

Kentucky Board of Education confirmations
On the final day of the session, the Senate confirmed ten of the 11 voting members of the Kentucky Board of Education who were appointed by Governor Beshear in December. The Senate did not confirm the appointment of KBE member David Karem who was the chairman of the board. This vacancy will be filled by the governor. The Senate did not vote on the governor’s appointment of two ex officio seats to the board for the secretary of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet and for an active elementary or secondary school teacher. Those seats were held by Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman and Allison Slone, a special education teacher from Rowan County.

In a later issue we will publish a summary of education bills.

In addition, KDE posted on April 7 guidance on several other issues important to schools and districts:

  • Considerations for the Senior Class of 2020
  • Considerations for Instruction
  • Considerations for Professional Learning
  • Considerations for Mental Health and Wellness