Feb. 9, 2023

In this issue:

  • 2023 KSBA Annual Conference two weeks away; student art banner deadline looming
  • Tax credit, charter school proponents seek constitutional amendment 
  • Lawmakers, education community discuss teacher shortage 
  • February Advocate
  • New KSBA board members to be ratified this month
  • Breathitt County Schools out of state assistance
  • KSBA's legislative priorities and guiding principles
  • 2023 COSSBA Annual Conference
  • Upcoming dates, deadlines and events

Multiple parental rights bills filed, one to be heard today

At the first Senate Education Committee meeting of the session, lawmakers at 11 a.m. today will vote on a proposal from Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, specifying “rights in public schools."

Senate Bill 150, is one of four filed this week, seek to stop what some lawmakers perceive as the “woke agenda” in schools. The bills put new rules around the use of preferred pronouns, students use of pronouns, mental health services, and the teaching of sexuality, among other things.

Wise, who is running for lieutenant governor along with Kelly Craft, explained his bill on the Senate floor Wednesday.

“School administrators and faculty are being unnecessarily pressured to conform to an agenda that has no place within our public schools,” he said. “It’s time we empower parents. It’s time to give them a say in their children’s education. And it’s time for our governor to listen to parents instead of a commissioner who thinks that teachers should find another profession if they don’t subscribe to his woke ideology.”

The bill would require schools to provide written notice to parents at least two weeks prior to student's participation in any instruction involving human sexuality. A parent may allow their student to opt out, and an alternative assignment would be required.

Under the bill, teachers would not have to use a student’s preferred pronouns, and the department of education could not issue guidance on using pronouns that do not conform to a student’s biological sex.

The bill would not allow districts to have policies of keeping information confidential from parents, but would not prevent school personnel from “withholding information from a parent if a reasonably prudent person would believe, based on previous conduct and history, that the disclosure would result in the child becoming a dependent child or an 23 abused or neglected child.”

As of Thursday morning the bill had six co-sponsors. The other bills about parental rights are: House Bill 173, House Bill 177, and Senate Bill 102

Watch the Senate Education meeting at 11 a.m. on KET.

Annual Conference two weeks away; student banner art deadline looming

KSBA's 2023 Annual Conference is just two weeks away! Board team members from more than 160 districts have already registered to attend #KSBA23.

Click the blue button below to begin registration or to modify an existing registration. You may also view/download a hard copy session schedule and registration form (subject to possible changes). 

Student Banners deadline approaching: KSBA will once again display beautiful banner artwork depicting the conference theme, "The Sky is the Limit." We encourage each district to submit a student-designed banner for display at conference. Student banner artwork (submitted digitally) will be featured in conference communications, displayed in a gallery at the event, printed in a commemorative conference booklet and more! Information on student banner art submissionsThe deadline to submit banner artwork for the 2023 Annual Conference is Feb. 13.

Trade Show: The 2023 Annual Conference Trade Show will feature more than 80 vendors eager to connect with attendees and answer questions about their respective services and industries. And this year, attendees will have even more time to visit with exhibitors.

Three conferences in one: Annual Conference offers training opportunities for superintendents’ administrative assistants and board attorneys.

The Kentucky Organization of Superintendents’ Administrative Assistants (KOSAA) traditionally hosts its Annual Winter Meeting during KSBA’s Annual Conference. This year's meeting takes place on Friday, Feb. 24. Click here to learn more about and to register for the 2023 KOSAA Annual Winter Meeting.

The Kentucky Council of School Board Attorneys (CSBA) will also host its 2023 Spring Meeting during KSBA's Annual Conference each year. Details about the 2023 CSBA Spring Meeting - including easy online registration - are available on our CSBA page.

Questions about student banners or Annual Conference may be directed to training@ksba.org or call 800-372-2962. Visit KSBA's Annual Conference page for additional information.

Tax credit, charter school proponents seek constitutional amendment 

After the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that public money can only be spent on public schools, proponents of scholarship tax credits and charter schools are hoping to change the state’s constitution.

Rep. Josh Calloway, R-Irvington, has filled House Bill 174 which would allow voters to decide whether to change the constitution to allow public money to go to non-public schools.

If the bill were to pass, the constitutional amendment would be on the ballot in November 2024.

The question would appear as: “To give families more educational choice, are you in favor of allowing the General Assembly to provide for the educational costs of students in kindergarten through 12th grade who are outside of the system of common (public) schools by amending the Constitution of Kentucky.”

In December the state supreme court ruled that House Bill 563, which created a program to offer nearly dollar-for-dollar tax credits in return for donations to scholarship accounts which could then be used for private school tuition, is unconstitutional because the program would raise and spend public money for education outside the common schools in violation of Kentucky’s constitution.

In January, the Council for Better Education, along with two local school boards, filed a lawsuit to stop Kentucky’s new charter school law created by House Bill 9 (2022), claiming it violates the state’s constitution by spending money on non-public schools.

KSBA has long opposed diverting public funds from the state’s common school system as stated in the association’s Guiding Principles.

Lawmakers, education community discuss teacher shortage 

Seeking ways attract and retain teachers in the Commonwealth, a House committee on Tuesday heard from superintendents, teachers, state education officials and education advocates during its first meeting of the 2023 session.

“There are no easy answers, there are no quick answers,” said House Education Committee Chairman James Tipton. “But it’s an issue that we must address, because I truly believe that every child in Kentucky deserves a quality teacher in the classroom to help prepare them to deal with the issues of life.”

Tipton said he was asked by a constituent whether the state really has a teacher shortage. To answer that question, Education Commissioner Jason Glass explained that there are increases in critical shortage areas, a vast increase in emergency certifications and an increase in teacher overturn.

Glass noted that the often-cited number of 11,000 vacancies based on the Kentucky Educator Placement Service includes an entire year and positions that have been filed.

Glass and lawmakers differed on reasons for the teacher shortage with Glass noting a myriad of factors include compensation, the politicization of education, and lack of respect for teachers.

“If we work on increasing total compensation, support for our educators and respect for our educators, I believe we can begin turning the tide on this difficult issue,” he said.

Rep. Jennifer Decker, R-Waddy, said she believes “being required to carry out woke political agendas” is a reason for teacher attrition.

“I don’t have any woke directives from the Department of Education,” Glass replied. “The people who are making pronouns and transgender issues and woke issues a priority in our education, are politicians, they are not the things that are in our schools.”

Representatives from the Coalition to Sustain the Education Profession an initiative by the Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA) presented potential solutions to the shortage outlined in its progress report.

The proposal includes a review of teacher certification issues, a marketing campaign and financial incentives for students in teacher education programs. 

New KSBA board members to be ratified this month

A nominating committee of KSBA’s board of directors, chaired by Immediate Past-President Ronnie Holmes, at its December meeting selected four locally elected school board members to serve three-year terms as directors at-large. In addition, they selected the association’s next president-elect. These selections will be ratified during KSBA’s Annual Conference later this month. Those up for ratification include:

  • Hannah Barnes, Anchorage Independent (Director-at-large)
  • Kristy Carey, Harrison County (Director-at-large)
  • Tom Haggard, Covington Independent (Director-at-large)
  • Debbie Hammers, Butler County (Director-at-large)
  • Pamela Morehead, Eminence Independent (President-elect)

Read about these individuals in the February issue of the Kentucky School Advocate. 

Breathitt County Schools out of state assistance

The Kentucky Board of Education on Wednesday voted to remove Breathitt County Schools from state assistance.

The district became state-managed in 2012, with the authority of the local board and the local superintendent residing with the commissioner of education. The board and the superintendent regained its authority in 2019 when the district moved to state assistance.

“I would just like to take a moment to recognize superintendent Phillip Watts, the local board of education, the teachers, the faculty and staff, students and community members,” said Kentucky Department of Education Associate Commissioner Kelly Foster. “The culture of that entire district has changed.”

Foster noted that the board had passed nickel tax which is allowed the district to move to a 7-12 high school and allowed the district to build a new K-2 facility.

“Superintendents Watts has created a culture of learning and it’s very much a student-first across the district. I'm just really excited for this day,” he said.

Watts thanked KDE and KBE for their support.

“I’m very proud of our local board of education, very proud of all of our parents, community, staff students. I’m very thankful to be here today,” he said. 

February Advocate available online

Jobs for America's Graduates Kentucky (JAG KY) is designed to help students overcome barriers, helping them succeed in school and beyond. Learn how JAG KY's programs are changing student's lives across the state in the February issue of the Kentucky School Advocate.

Also in the February Advocate:

Review KSBA's 2023 legislative priorities and guidning principles

With the 2023 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly kicking into high gear, now is a good time to review KSBA’s 2023 legislative priorities and guiding principles. Visit KSBA's website for a detailed breakdown of these priorities or view/print a downloadable version for your reference.

You can also access KSBA’s guiding principles, formally adopted by KSBA’s board of directors in 2022, that inform the association’s position in support of or in opposition to proposed legislation.

Registration open for inaugural COSSBA annual conference

Join KSBA and board teams from across the nation March 30 – April 2 in Tampa for a long weekend of training and networking at the Consortium of State School Boards Associations’ (COSSBA) inaugural Annual Conference. Visit cossba.org for a conference schedule, keynote speaker information, access to hotel accommodations, easy online registration and more.

Review a schedule of breakout sessions. Approximately a half dozen breakout sessions at this year's event will be presented by KSBA staff and/or members!

Upcoming dates, deadlines and events

Feb. 13: KSBA 2023 Annual Conference student banner artwork submission deadline

Feb. 14: KDE's Superintendents Webcast

Feb. 24-26: KSBA Annual Conference

March 30-April 2: 2023 COSSBA Annnaul Conference

This edition of KSBA Aware is made possible in part
by the following KSBA Affiliate Members.
Tier 1 Affiliates

Tier 3 Affiliates

Kentucky School Boards Association | 502-695-4630 | ksba.org
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