Earlier today, Belmont University announced that Lewis has been hired as the school’s first dean of education. Lewis will begin his role at the Nashville college on Jan. 1.
After Lewis’s resignation, the KBE named Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) Associate Commissioner Robin Kinney as acting commissioner until Wednesday when former KDE Associate Commissioner and General Counsel Kevin Brown will take over as interim commissioner.
Brown, currently general counsel at Jefferson County Schools, will serve until the board names a new commissioner following a national search.
The Dec. 12 meeting followed an attempt by 10 of the 11 former KBE board members to prevent the Beshear-appointed board from acting. The former members have filed suit in Franklin Circuit Court and asked that court, the court of appeals and Kentucky Supreme Court to issue an injunction to stop the meeting. All courts denied the request.
Former board member Rich Gimmel said the members are evaluating whether to continue with the lawsuit.
The KBE, led by Chairman David Karem, a former state senator and previous KBE chairman, voted to begin a national search for the new Kentucky commissioner of education.
“This is really a return to what the Kentucky Education Reform Act intended: the appointment of a quality board of members to this board and a national search for a commissioner of education,” said Karem, who was one of the architects of the sweeping education reform legislation in 1990.
KBE denies charter waiver requests
The Kentucky Board of Education, as constituted on Dec. 4, denied requests from eight school boards to waive the state-mandated charter-authorizer training requirements.
The districts – Bell, Carroll, Graves Henry, Knott, Owsley, Pulaski, and Trimble counties – argued that the 12-hour charter authorizer training requirement is burdensome and puts a hardship on districts.
Following the recommendation of then-Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis, a committee of the board and then the full board voted to deny all of the requests.
“The department has felt that we’ve already made adequate provision for assisting board members with receiving this training,”
said then-KBE member Gary Houchens, “and if they would like to seek some statutory relief for that then they are certainly welcome to do that.”
The charter authorizer training requirements are part of the administrative regulation enacting the state’s 2017 charter school law.
After the meeting, KSBA Executive Director Kerri Schelling
pointed out that the onerous charter training requirements put limitations on board members’ ability to attend training on issues they face every day while governing their district.
Beshear sworn in, promises inclusion
Pledging that his administration would be a team involving all Kentuckians,
Gov. Andy Beshear was sworn in Dec. 10 on the Capitol steps surrounded by Kentucky educators.
“I am now the governor of all the people of Kentucky. I will be governor just as much for those who voted against me as those who voted for me,” Beshear said. “Because I view this election as an opportunity, an opportunity to heal wounds. An opportunity to work together instead of angling for political gain. An opportunity to make room at the table for voices that have been excluded.”
Those voices include educators like now-Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, he said before announcing that he had reorganized the state board of education to include members with a “commitment to make our schools better.”
Before the ceremony, teachers dress in red led the inaugural parade and lined the route from downtown Frankfort to the Capitol. Hundreds of Kentucky public school students participated in the festivities as part of marching bands, choirs, Junior ROTC or other groups.
KSBA’s Executive Director Kerri Schelling and President-elect Davonna Page were honored to attend the swearing in ceremony on the Capitol steps. All of the
inauguration day events are available to stream on KET.
KSBA's Eric Kennedy to discuss education issues on Kentucky Tonight
KSBA Director of Advocacy Eric Kennedy will appear on Kentucky Tonight with Renee Shaw at 8 p.m. ET, Monday, a live roundtable discussion of education issues including the state board reshufffle, school council legislation, Gov. Beshear's teacher pay promises, school safety funding and more.
Kennedy with be joined by Allison Slone, Rowan County special education teacher and state board of education advisory member, Brigitte Blom Ramsey, executive director of the Prichard Committee and Richard Innes, education analyst for the Bluegrass Institute.
The KBE, as constituted on Dec. 4, voted to release control of the district after an audit determined the superintendent and school board have the capacity to run the district. The Kentucky Department of Education will continue to assist the district.
“It was truly a broken district when it went into state management,” said KDE Associate Commissioner Kelly Foster. “They still have a ways to go in different areas of their district, but …I feel really confident that they are going to continue to improve.”
Foster, who interviewed each Breathitt board member and had been approving board agendas and meeting minutes, commended the board for its “tremendous focus around children.”
“They are really focusing on making sure they are using their resources, human resources or financial resources toward what’s best for their students,” she said.
Save the date for KSBA's Legislative Education Advocacy Day
KSBA’s 2020 Legislative Education Advocacy Day (LEAD) will be held Feb. 27, roughly the mid-point of the General Assembly's budget session.
The event will begin with breakfast in the Capitol Annex cafeteria from 7:30–9 a.m. (ET). All legislators are invited. Local board members, superintendents and other district staff may join in purchasing breakfast from the cafeteria during that time.
Throughout the morning, all local board teams are encouraged to meet with their legislators in their Capitol offices to discuss KSBA's priorities for the session. As always, local board teams must call ahead and schedule their own meetings with legislators.
From noon–2 p.m. (ET) KSBA will set up an informational display on our priorities in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Legislators and board members are invited to join us for light refreshments. Board teams may continue to schedule meetings throughout this time with their legislators. The House and Senate will each go into session at 2 p.m. concluding our day.
January is School Board Recognition Month and we encourage communities to use this time to celebrate locally elected school board members for their dedication and service. There is no shortage of ways to show appreciation for school boards, but KSBA wants to help. We have once again made a
SBRM toolkit available our on our website, packed with templates and ideas for a smooth and easy commemoration. The kit includes social media graphics, certificates, news releases, activity ideas and more. Check it out!
Floyd County wins Fall 2019 PEAK Award
Earlier this month, KSBA presented Floyd County Schools with the Fall 2019 Public Education Achieves in Kentucky (PEAK) Award. Floyd County was recognized for its Literacy, Lunch & Learning program which works to feed children in the summer months while also helping to avoid the summer slide. You can read more about
Floyd County's program in the Kentucky School Advocate.
As state funding for public schools in Kentucky has failed to keep up with inflation, state data show local taxpayers are increasingly paying more of the costs – and that's leading to greater inequity between school districts across the state.