March 26, 2020


COVID-19 Legislation

SB 177 COVID-19 Public Schools Bill EMERGENCY
This multi-faceted law addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on public schools was introduced and passed by both the House and the Senate on Thursday March 19 and was signed by the Governor. This law was enacted as Emergency legislation, retroactive to March 6, and provides:

  • Commissioner of Education may approve additional emergency Non-traditional Instruction NTI days;
  • Commissioner can waive the required 1,062 instructional hours if a district submits compelling rationale for failing to complete these hours by June 12, 2020;
  • School districts shall allow emergency leave to full or part-time classified or certified employee due to COVID-19;
  • Kentucky Board of Education may waive statewide assessment requirements in accordance with federal waivers;
  • KDE shall seek and utilize federal waivers involving requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
  • Local districts may revise the certified evaluation plan;
  • Districts may submit last years attendance data for this year


All K-PREP testing cancelled for 2019-20 school year
On March 24, the Kentucky Department of Education notified all school districts that all K-PREP testing for the 2019-2020 school year has been cancelled. This advice was consistent with the U.S. Department of Education decision that students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can bypasses standardized testing for this year. 

All 172 of Kentucky’s school districts are using the Non-Traditional Instruction Program while school buildings are closed and in-person classes have been called off until at least April 20. The Commissioner of Education said that all federal ratings and supports will remain the same until after the next testing cycle in the spring of 2021. The list of CSI and Additional Targeted Support and Improvement also will stay the same.

For more information on public schools and other government information access the Kentucky COVID-19 webpage.


Active SBDM Bill

Senate Bill 7 is currently assigned the House Local Government Committee who can hear this bill at any time with no notice. The public is not allowed in the Capitol Buildings due to the coronavirus emergency mandates and thus no citizens will be allowed to testify and appear to voice opposition to this anti-SBDM bill. Until we know the bill is dead, we must keep up the communication with the House to voice our opposition.

Senate Bill 7 diminishes council impact in Kentucky and takes decision-making out of the hands of those closest to the students and gives it to the superintendent and school board.

Road to Passing a Bill in KentuckyOn February 6, the Senate voted in favor of SB 7* (with a committee substitute), which greatly reduces the authority of the school council.  Your action can stop this bill now.

*The Senate approved a Senate committee substitute to SB 7 that:

  • amends the bill to 3 teacher members, 3 parent members (adds a parent member) and 1 principal
  • removes attempts to lessen teacher involvement by allowing transfer of teacher members
  • keeps the Jefferson County Principal Selection provision (enacted 2019) that provides for the superintendent to be part of the council for principal selection, principal selection training for council, interviews and votes, but ultimately, if the superintendent does not agree with the selection then the superintendent may override the final vote


Now is the time to contact ALL of the members of the House and tell them to Vote NO on SB 7 because you support school councils.

Despite changes made recently, SB 7 is still a major concern because it:

  • Requires council policy to be consistent with local board policy and district goals
    Issue 1: SBDM councils could be greatly limited by the school board’s policies; for example, think about a policy that requires uniformity at every school in the district. A one-size-fits-all approach has never been proven effective.

    Issue 2: Councils could potentially waste months on planning and decision-making only to have a decision overturned by new board policy. This diminishes the role of the council, which in turn, could discourage the involvement of teachers and parents who wish to be a part of school governance.

  • Has the superintendent select the principal after consultation with the school council
    Issue: 1) The selection of the principal is removed from the people in the school and given solely to the superintendent, taking us back 27 years. 2) In the current process, the collaboration between the superintendent and the council sets the principal up for success. New principals need support from shareholders. 3) Not all superintendents agree with this proposed change. There are many who appreciate the collaboration with the council.


Contact House Members:

PhoneMessage line: 1-800-372-7181 With one phone call, you can ask that all legislators receive your message.

Email — If you wish to write to your specific legislator, be sure to let him/her know you are a constituent. Use Find Your Legislator to find the legislators and contact information.

Taking decision-making away from SBDM councils: parents, teachers, and principals will inspire less commitment and more compliance. Say no to SB7.

Decisions made on behalf of students should be made by the people closest to their needs: parents, teachers, and principals. Stop SB7, which erodes and overrides the authority of SBDM councils.

School Councils are the best way to develop parent leadership in our communities. Do not take away school council authority and put our local school decisions in the hands of just one person. Vote against SB7.


Budget Bill
HB 52PSS1 Senate Budget Bill
March 19 the Senate adopted its version of the Budget Bill and the House refused to concur in the Senate budget changes. A Conference Committee was appointed and met for the first time on Monday March 23. They are continuing to meet to hammer out a budget plan to send to the governor. Certainly, the revenue forecast for the Commonwealth will be bleak due to this COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Senate plan also eliminates the funding for the under-65 retired teacher health insurance. 

The House budget version proposed full funding for the TRS pension plan and funding for the under 65 health insurance that depends on an appropriation in the first year and surplus money in the second year of the budget.
Other Senate Budget Bill Highlights:
  • Teacher raises questionable
  • Classified staff receive 1% raise
  • Decreases millions in TRS unless new teachers move into hybrid model
  • Some SEEK funds must go textbooks
  • Restores $5 million preschool
  • Some KDE funds held in trust until new revenue forecast

The information is changing by the hour so stay tuned!

Other Bills of Interest
 
SENATE BILLS

SB 10 Reorganize Kentucky Board of Education
Reorganize the Kentucky Board of Education to reflect equal general representation, proportionally reflect political party affiliation and minority racial composition; prohibits the Governor from reorganizing the board; this is an emergency bill and would be effective upon enactment (not wait the usual 90 days after the session.)  Introduced in Senate February 25. March 5 approved by the Senate Education Committee and heads to the entire Senate for a vote. March 17 Senate Floor Amendment filed to make this an Emergency Bill to take effect immediately; allows current KBE members to serve until June 30, 2020; allows ex officio teacher and Secretary of Workforce Development Cabinet members to serve until June 30, 2020 and then abolish the position. Currently before the full Senate for a vote.

SB 77 Child Sex Abuse Education
Creates a new law to require each public school to provide developmentally appropriate instruction on child abuse and child sexual abuse to students in K-12th grades. The instruction shall be provided as part of a health, physical education, or other course or during the designated classroom period, as determined by the school council. January 9 introduced in Senate.

SB 101 Standardized Articulation Agreement
This law will ensure that dual credit hours earned in high school would be transferable to Kentucky universities. January 21 introduced into Senate, February 6 passed Senate Education Committee and February 11 passed the full Senate. February 11 received in House and assigned to House Education Committee.

SB 110 Scholarship Tax Credit
Creates a new income tax credit for tuition assistance based on contributions to a qualified scholarship granting organization including private and religious schools. January 24 introduced in Senate. January 27 assigned to the Appropriations & Revenue Committee. Call and ask legislators to vote against this bill!

SB 143 Moment of Silence
Create a law requiring the school board adopt a policy requiring a moment of silence or reflection at the beginning of the school day; the time period must be at least one minute and no longer than two minutes; school staff are prohibited from providing instruction to any student regarding the nature of any reflection a student may engage in; students must remain seated and silent. March 5 approved by the Senate Education Committee with Committee Substitute. The bill headed to the full Senate but on March 17 was recommitted back to the Senate Education Committee.

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. February 10 introduced into Senate and on February 28 passed the Senate Education Committee. March 4 passed the full Senate and now heads to the House. March 18 passed the House Education Committee. March 18 House Floor Amendment filed that would exclude subgroups of 10-29 students from the accountability system but include them in the school report card. Before the full House for a vote. 

SB 174 National Board Certification
Amends the law to allow national board certification to qualify a teacher for Rank II status. February 13 introduced in Senate. Passed by the Senate Education Committee on March 5. March 11 passed Senate and currently assigned to the House Education Committee. 

SB 193 Computer Science Education
Amend the Kentucky Board of Education goals to encourage underrepresented groups to take computer science courses; require the department of education to submit an annual report including the data disaggregated by underrepresented groups, of the students taking computer science classes; the number of courses or programs offered and the number of computer science instructors.  February 20 introduced into Senate; Approved by the Senate Education Committee and on March 3 passed the entire Senate. March 6 assigned to the House Small Business & Information Technology Committee and March 12 approved by the committee. Currently before the full House for a vote.

SB 214 Early Literacy Education *similar to HB 488
Amends current laws regarding reading instruction; supports interventions and includes new responsibilities for KDE, school districts, schools, and teachers; permits a school district to adopt a common comprehensive reading program for K-3; requires all K-3 teachers to be trained in the reading diagnostic assessment; establishes the reading improvement plan; replaces “response to intervention” systems with “multi-tiered system of supports”; requires postsecondary teacher prep programs to include designated reading instruction; require new teachers seeking elementary certification to take an approved reading teacher preparation test. February 25 introduced into Senate. The Senate Education Committee heard this bill on March 12 for discussion purposes only and the link to the KET archived video link to this interesting discussion can be found here.

SB 234 Support Education Excellence in Kentucky Funding
Increase SEEK funding for districts that are getting less funding per student now than they did in 1991. March 2 introduced into Senate. March 4 assigned to the Appropriates & Revenue Committee.

SB 285 Kentucky Board of Education Membership
Amends the membership of the Kentucky Board of Education to include one public school teacher and the Secretary of the Education and Workforce Cabinet to serve as non-voting members; the voting members shall be appointed without reference to political affiliation but shall ensure broad diversity among members. March 4 introduced into Senate.

 
HOUSE BILLS

HB 9 Require Historical Instruction
Create a new law requiring African and Native American history instruction in middle and high school courses in United States history; require the Kentucky Board of Education to promulgate administrative regulations establishing academic standards for the required historical instruction; require school councils to adopt curricula for required instruction; require Department of Education to develop recommended curricula and instruction guidelines and professional development materials. January 7 introduced in House.

HB 20 Student Loan Forgiveness for STEM Teachers
Creates new law to establish a student loan forgiveness program for STEM teachers employed at a public school within a federally designated promise zone. January 7 introduced into House and February 11 passed the House Education Committee. February 12 recommitted to Appropriations & Revenue (A fiscal impact study is being conducted.)

HB 22 Corporal Punishment Prohibited
Creates a new law that prohibits school district employees, nonfaculty coaches, and nonfaculty assistants from using corporal punishment on any student.  Corporal punishment is defined as the deliberate infliction of severe physical pain on a student by any means intended to punish or discipline the student, including but not limited to paddling, striking, shaking, or spanking. February 4 passed the House Education Committee and on February 7 passed in the House. February 10 received in Senate and assigned to Senate Education Committee. March 18 taken from Education Committee and reassigned to Health & Welfare Committee with floor amendments filed that would require the written authorization from a parent to use corporal punishment.  

HB 25 Repeal Public Charter Schools
Repeals Kentucky’s Public Charter School laws. January 7 introduced in House.

HB 30 Bullying Definition Expanded
Amends KRS 158.148 to expand bullying to non-school-sponsored locations and activities and through the use of technology that is not provided by the school district. Requires each school district’s Code of Acceptable Behavior to contain procedures for notifying parents or guardians of an alleged victim and an alleged perpetrator, including actions to be taken to prevent future acts of bullying or retaliation. Additionally, the Code shall provide procedures for restoring a sense of safety for a victim and assessing the victim’s needs for protection. January 7 introduced in House.

HB 37 Arts Instruction Required in Schools
Creates a new law to require public schools containing grades K-5 to offer all students a minimum of 100 minutes per week in standards-based instruction in visual and performing arts, such as music, visual arts, theater, and dance; For school containing grades 6-8, offer all students one course per year using standards-based visual and performance arts instruction; schools shall submit an annual arts program data report to the department of education; schools shall implement policies that include arts instruction, prohibit discipline options from including revoking participation in arts instruction, and prohibit reducing arts instruction for the remediation of student deficiencies in other subjects; the department of education shall develop school program standards for visual and performing arts; encourage school councils to develop arts program models; require arts data to be included in school report card. January 7 introduced in House. February 13 passed House with Committee Substitute and floor amendment and the bill has been received in the Senate and assigned to the Senate Education Committee

HB 41 Require Full-Day Kindergarten
Amends current law to require full-day Kindergarten. The state will have to provide funding to school districts for the attendance of full-day Kindergarten students. January 7 introduced in House.

HB 87 FAFSA High School Graduation Requirement
Requires the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid FAFSA form as a high school graduation requirement; Parents can opt out of the FAFSA requirement; January 7 introduced in House; January 28 approved by House Education Committee; March 17 passed the full House and received in the Senate.


HB 101 Voter Preregistration
Creates a new law to permit voter preregistration for persons 16 years old. Schools shall inform and assist students in the proper completion of voter preregistration and registration forms. At least once a year, the state board of education shall implement voter education classes for sophomores, juniors, and seniors. School districts shall submit an annual report documenting the number of students that have registered and preregistered to vote in each school, and a plan for encouraging students to register and preregister to vote. January 7 introduced in House.

HB 132 Student Privacy in School Restrooms
Create a new law to require school restrooms and locker rooms to be used by students according to their gender at birth; require schools to accommodate these students who identify with a different gender, with their parent's written consent, to access single-stall bathrooms, unisex bathrooms or controlled use of faculty bathrooms. This law creates a private right of action (including attorney fees) against the school for a student who encounters a person of the opposite biological sex in the bathroom, if school personnel gave permission to use the facilities or failed to prohibit the person from using the facilities. January 7 introduced in House.

HB 165 Required Nonteaching Time for Teachers
Creates a law that requires teachers to be provided a minimum of 120 minutes per week for nonteaching activities which are teacher-directed and used for common planning time to collaborate on curriculum development, examine student work, plan instruction, professional development, school-based decision making, and outreach activities involving their students’ families and the community. This law shall not supplant provisions in an existing employer-employee bargained contract. January 7 introduced in House.

HB 190 Bullying
Amends KRS 158.148 to require the local school district Code of Acceptable Behavior to include the order of reporting bullying incidents to staff; include a specific timeline for beginning and completing an investigation and providing a written response; procedures for appeal; and procedures for reporting incidents to parents and guardians. January 9 introduced in House. January 16 the House Education approved and on January 29 the entire House vote unanimously in favor of this bill. February 1 received in Senate and assigned to Senate Education Committee.

HB 200 Reduce Maximum Class Sizes
Amends KRS 157.360(5) to reduce maximum class sizes by three. Maximum number of pupils enrolled in a class shall be 21 in primary (currently 24); 25 in grade four (currently 28); 26 in grades five and six (currently 29) and 28 in grades seven to twelve (currently 31). January 7 introduced in House. January 9 assigned to House. Education Committee.

HB 220 Charter Training and TSI Amendments
The bill deletes the current requirement that local school boards receive annual Charter School Training and this training is only required if a Charter School files an application. Also, this bill includes a House Floor Amendment that amends the TSI definition to align with federal law. Parts of this House Floor Amendment are similar to SB 158. January 8 introduced. January 28 approved by the House Education Committee.  March 18 passed by the full House with a House Floor Amendment. The bill heads to the Senate.

HB 281 Student Access to Sexually Explicit Material
Requires that the Kentucky Department of Education develop informational materials on the public health risks and potential harms or sexually explicit Internet content; require each public school to distribute the informational materials to parents and guardians prior to requesting parental consent for Internet use in accordance with school district policy. January 16 introduced in House; January 21 assigned to House Education Committee and February 21 posted in committee. February 25 introduced into House.

HB 243 Religious Texts Literacy Course
Amends current law to replace courses on the Hebrew Scriptures, Old Testament, and New Testament with courses on the various religious texts of the many religions practiced in the Commonwealth. January 13 introduced in House.

HB 295 Require minimum physical activity in schools
Amends KRS 160.345, the SBDM law, to require at least 25 minutes of student physical activity each school day for students in grades K-8. The policy shall prioritize free play activities taking place outdoors, weather permitting. January 21 introduced into the House. January 23 assigned to the House Education Committee.

HB 296 Comprehensive Sex Education Instruction
Requires each school district to provide comprehensive age-appropriate sex education instruction; A school shall make curricula available to the parent and allow parents to submit a written excuse to remove their student from the sex education class without penalty; Kentucky Department of Education shall adopt regulations and issue a report on sex education; January 21 introduced in House. January 23 assigned to House Education Committee.

HB 301 Financial Literacy Graduation Requirement
Amends KRS 158.1411 to add a half credit of financial literacy is required as a graduation requirement. Current law requires “one or more courses or programs” in financial literacy for graduation. This amendment clarifies “half credit” versus “one course”. January 21 introduced in House. February 25 brought before the House Education Committee for discussion purposes only. March 11 the House Education Committee passed this bill with a committee substitute that would allow any high school teacher to teach financial literacy. High School students would need 1/2 credit of financial literacy in order to graduate. (Some districts are allowing students to take a 3-hour online program to satisfy the financial literacy graduation requirement.) The bill heads to the full House for a vote.

HB 312 Foster Children Education
Requires Kentucky Department of Education KDE to develop processes to promote more expeditious enrollment of students in foster care who are transferring to a new school or district and the sharing of student records among the schools; requires foster child caseworker to accompany the child to the new school to enroll the child or contact the school via telephone during the day of enrollment and provide as much information as is known; the previous school shall provide the new school all records regarding the foster child by the end of the working day on the day of receipt of the records request; if the record is incomplete then the previous school shall provide the completed records within 3 working days of the original request.  Other provisions regarding foster children and public schools. January 23 introduced in House and February 11 approved by House Education Committee. February 13 passed full House and February 14 received in Senate. March 12 approved by the Senate Education Committee and March 18 unanimously passed the full Senate. This bill will be delivered to the Governor.   

HB 341 Retired Teacher Certification
Allows a retired teacher certificate renewal based on completion of professional development.  A retired teacher holding a five-year professional certificate shall have the certificate renewed for five years if the certificate holder has completed six hours of professional development. January 28 introduced into House. March 6 passed House Education Committee with committee substitute requiring six hours of PD. The House passed the bill on March 12. The bill is in the Senate and assigned to the Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations Committee.

HB 350 Scholarship Tax Credit
Creates a new income tax credit for tuition assistance based on contributions to a qualified scholarship granting organization including private and religious schools. January 27 introduced in House. January 29 assigned to the House Appropriations & Revenue Committee. Call now to ask that legislators vote no on this bill!

HB 368 KEES Eligibility
Provides that students with a felony record who are otherwise eligible for a KEES scholarship shall be eligible to earn and use their KEES awards (currently these students with a felony record are ineligible to use KEES awards.)  February 2 introduced in House; March 9 unanimously passed full House; This bill has been received in the Senate and will be heard in the Senate Education Meeting on March 19. 

HB 393 Dual Credit Scholarships
Adds two career and technical education courses per year to the Dual Credit Scholarship. February 4 introduced in House. March 11 passed in the House Education Committee. March 18 the House voted in favor of this bill and it heads to the Senate.

HB 401 Teacher’s Retirement “Housekeeping bill”
Makes several technical amendments to the Teacher’s Retirement System TRS by allowing electronic signatures; automatically designate a TRS member’s spouse as beneficiary for retired members remaining account balance at the time of death unless changed by the member; and many more provisions. Introduced February 7 and passed by State Government committee on February 27. March 19 unanimously passed the full House and heading to the Senate.    

HB 434 Student Mental Health Assessments
Requires each school district to utilize a mental health assessment as needed for students and contract with a student mental health assessment provider; Help schools identify at-risk students, determine appropriate interventions, and provide ongoing monitoring. Requires the prior written consent of the parent if the student is under age 18. Introduced February 18; March 6 passed by the House Education Committee and heads to the full House for a vote.

HB 461 Health Emergencies and Non-Traditional Instruction
Two parts to this bill addressing non-traditional instruction and health emergencies called by the Governor. The first part applies to NTI school districts and those districts would be allowed to use 20 NTI days for a public health emergency. The second part is for school districts who have not adopted NTI and schools can be open on primary election day, school day can be expanded to 7 hours daily, Saturday school is an option. If the district cannot meet the necessary hours required for the school year by June 12 then the district may apply to the Commissioner of Education for a waiver of the school days missed. March12 passed with committee substitute by the House Education Committee and this bill is headed to the full House for a vote. 

HB 488 Early Literacy Education (similar to SB 214)
Amends current laws regarding reading instruction; supports interventions and includes new responsibilities for KDE, school districts, schools, and teachers; permits a school district to adopt a common comprehensive reading program for K-3; requires all K-3 teachers to be trained in the reading diagnostic assessment; establishes the reading improvement plan; replaces “response to intervention” systems with “multi-tiered system of supports”; requires postsecondary teacher prep programs to include designated reading instruction; require new teachers seeking elementary certification to take an approved reading teacher preparation test.

HB 569 SEEK Calculation
Replaces “average daily attendance” with the “average daily enrollment” for funding purposes under the Support Education Excellent in Kentucky SEEK fund. March 2 introduced in House.

HB 576 Teacher’s Retirement
Amends the Teacher Retirement System provisions for teachers hired after January 2021; the bill is similar to the 2019 TRS bill 504 that did not advance. Introduced by Rep. Jerry Wright on March 2. March 4 assigned to State Government Committee and posted in committee.

HB 636 Full-Day Kindergarten
Requires districts to provide full-day kindergarten and SEEK to include funds for full-day kindergarten beginning in 2026. March 2 introduced into House.

HOUSE RESOLUTIONS

House Resolution 13
A resolution urging the Kentucky Department of Education to create a task force to consider ways to improve diversity in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics STEAM areas of education. January 7 introduced in House.

House Concurrent Resolution 52
Creates the Kentucky Preschool Program Task Force to student preschool programs and report to the Interim Joint Committee on Education. January 22 introduced in House.

House Concurrent Resolution 61 Higher Education Loan Payment
Urging Congress to adopt the Higher education Loan Payment and Enhanced retirement Act.  March 12 approved by the House Education Committee. Before the full house for a vote. 

House Joint Resolution 82 School Accountability
Directs the commissioner of education to convene an assessment and accountability committee consisting of teachers, principals, school superintendents, school board member and public school parent; Examine opportunities to improve the current approach to assessment and accountability; discuss reducing the emphasis on high-stakes standardized testing; report the findings of the committee to the Interim Joint Committee on Education by December 2020 and December 2021. February 12 introduced into House. March 6 passed the House Education Committee and heads to the full House for a vote.

House Concurrent Resolution 110 Exceptional Students
Ensures full inclusion of exceptional children in all programs and opportunities. February 26 introduced into House. March 6 passed the House Education Committee and heads to the full House for a vote.


House Concurrent Resolution 117 Primary Grades Task Force
Establishes the Teacher Preparation in Literacy and Numeracy for Primary Grades Task Force. March 11 passed in the House Education Committee and resolution goes to the full House for a vote.

House Resolution 106 Bleeding Control Kits
Encouraging local boards of education to solicit private support to provide for bleeding control kits and training. March 12 passed in the House Education Committee. Before the House for a vote.

New Laws Passed This Session
 

SB 8 School Safety Bill
Amends the 2019 school safety law to require one school counselor per public school; one school-based mental health professional per 250 students; clarifies which school facilities are required to have a school resource officer; require all school resource officers to carry a gun at all times. February 21, signed by the Governor and will become law in mid-July 2020 (ninety days after adjournment in mid-April 2020.)

SB 63 Virtual High School Diploma for Adults
Creates an option for a school district to allow adults over 21 who have dropped out of high school to enroll in virtual high school classes and receive a high school diploma. January 7 introduced in the Senate and passed the Senate Education Committee. February 5 passed the full Senate and received in House. February 25 the House Education Committee voted in favor of this bill and is heading to the full House for a vote. March 4 passed House with Floor Amendment allowing a district to accept nonresident students who would otherwise qualify into the program. March 9 the senate concurred in this Floor Amendment and the bill passed unanimously. March 17 signed by the Governor and became law.


KASC is asking you to contact legislators to express your support of SBDM and other bills that affect your school. Kentucky citizens have proven in the last year that our voices make a difference!