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October 26, 2023

In this issue:

  • Lawmakers hear about rise in chronic absenteeism
  • Registration now open for 2023 Winter Symposium
  • CHFS issues guidance on duty to report
  • Most school boards approve 4% tax rate
  • KSBA personnel updates
  • November Learn and Earn to discuss leading with civility
  • KSBA seeking candidates for director-at-large seats
  • Superintendent search alert
  • 2023 Clean School Bus Rebate Program
  • Nominations open for KOSAA KUP award
  • Upcoming dates, deadlines and events

Lawmakers hear about rise in chronic absenteeism

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and school district administrators told lawmakers that students are coming to school less often after the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the legislature's Interim Joint Committee on Education, Chay Ritter, KDE director of District Support, said that prior to the pandemic the statewide chronic absenteeism rate was about 18.5%. The latest attendance data will be available when the state report data is released Oct. 31, he said.

A student is chronically absent from school when the student has missed 10 percent or more of the days enrolled (approximately 17 days of school.)

Marci Prater, director of Pupil Personnel for Boyd County Schools, explained that she studied attendance data across the state.

“I could see that basically no matter what area of the state, we were all trending about the same averaging about a 2% ADA loss when you look at the average daily attendance across the state of Kentucky,” she said.

Joey Kilburn, director of Pupil Personnel at Simpson County Schools, said that COVID-19 changed how school attendance is viewed. Students are now used to staying home if they don’t feel 100%, he said. 

“I think the biggest thing is our attitudes and habits around good attendance have changed,” he said. “Now we’ve got to change those attitudes and change those habits.”

Kilburn said the motivation to attend school has also been impacted by the pandemic.

“I think you have to have a purpose to be there,” he said. “And I think some people lost their purpose for being at school along the way.”

There’s no magic bullet to fix the problem, he said.

“Improving attendance is about making your schools a place that people want to be and a place that works for the students,” he said.

Registration now open for 2023 Winter Symposium

KSBA’s 2023 Winter Symposium is Dec. 8-9 at the Louisville Marriott Downtown. This conference is the last in-person training event before the end of the calendar year – the deadline for all school board members to complete their annual state-mandated school board training hours. Winter Symposium offers members engaging sessions, networking opportunities and a sold out trade show. View/download a complete conference schedule.

Access easy online registration by clicking the button below.

Additional event information can be found on KSBA’s Winter Symposium page.

Begin online registration

CHFS issues guidance on KRS 620.030, duty to report

Following questions from districts about whether reports of suspected dependency, abuse or neglect must be made orally or in writing, the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) recently released the following guidance:

“The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has been notified that there is a need to provide clarification regarding the methods for reporting suspected dependency, abuse or neglect due to the most recent version of KRS 620.030 passed by the General Assembly omitting the phrase ‘or written’ in KRS 620.030(2)(a)(1).

“The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has interpreted and continues to interpret the reporting provisions of KRS 620.030 to allow for ‘any person’ including, but not limited to, school personnel, who know or have reasonable cause to believe that a child is dependent, neglected or abused to make a report either orally or in writing to the Cabinet for investigation.”

This guidance clarifies that mandatory reporting may be accomplished either orally or in writing. For additional information on the duty to report suspected child abuse or neglect, please see the Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect booklet published by CHFS.

Most school boards approve 4% tax rate

During the Oct. 10 Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) meeting, the tax rates set by school boards for the 2023-24 school year were reported.

At the time, 140 of 171 districts had reported their rates. Of the districts that had reported, 85 approved the rate that generates 4% more revenue than the prior year, 16 took the rate that would bring in the same amount of revenue and 39 took another rate.

KBE voted to approve the rates. 

KSBA personnel updates


Eric Kennedy, the association’s director of Advocacy since 2016, will serve his last day at KSBA on Oct. 27. KSBA staff and board of directors wish Eric well as he pursues a new professional challenge that allows him to remain intricately involved in the legislative and legal processes. We are grateful for his many contributions to the association’s advocacy work and for his leadership and collaboration among education stakeholders statewide. 

KSBA is currently accepting applications for the position of director of Advocacy.* This full-time Frankfort-based position is responsible for planning and implementing the governmental relations and advocacy work of the association. Access the job description, requirements and application.


After nearly 15 years as KSBA’s chief financial officer, Steve Smith will retire on Dec. 31. Steve came to KSBA as CFO in 2009 following a successful career in the private sector. Under his leadership, the association has maintained healthy liquidity and strong reserves despite periods of economic uncertainty. On behalf of KSBA’s staff and board of directors, we are grateful to Steve for his steady leadership, his work ethic and his contagious optimism. We wish him happiness and health in retirement.

Leah Herrera, who has served in KSBA’s Finance department since 2006 (and as controller since 2010), will begin as the association’s new CFO on Jan. 1. KSBA looks forward to reintroducing Leah to association members in the months ahead, including at KSBA’s upcoming Winter Symposium.

KSBA is currently accepting inquiries and applications for the position of controller.* The full-time, Frankfort-based position is responsible for managing and maintaining accurate and timely records of financial activities, KSBA’s Unemployment Insurance Fund and the KSBA Educational Foundation. Access the job description, requirements and application instructions.

Please share these employment opportunities with those who may find them of interest.

*KSBA is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Webinar on board's role in promoting positive district culture

The November installment of KSBA's 2023 Learn and Earn webinar series is “Leading with civility: Things every school board member should know.” 


As elected leaders in their community, school board members understand the importance of creating healthy and respectful environments on their board and in their meetings. But in an era of divisive opinions and heightened discourse, that can be easier said than done. Join us from noon - 1 p.m. (ET) Wednesday, Nov. 8 as KSBA Executive Director Kerri Schelling discusses things every board member should know, understand and do to promote a positive district culture.


Register for this webinar.


Pre-registration and payment is required for all Learn and Earn webinars at a cost of $50 per attendee. Each webinar counts for one hour of school board training credit.


See descriptions and online registration for all upcoming Learn and Earn webinars.

KSBA seeking candidates for director-at-large seats

KSBA is seeking candidates to fill four director-at-large seats on its board of directors for a three-year term. Members of the KSBA Board of Directors focus their efforts on the shared interests of all Kentucky local public school districts as well as the health and relevancy of the association.

In keeping with the association's bylaws, any Kentucky school board member in good standing may place his/her name before KSBA's Selection Committee by submitting an online application no later than Tuesday, Nov. 14. The committee will make selections based on application information and in-person interviews. Interviews will take place during KSBA's 2023 Winter Symposium Dec. 8-9 in Louisville.

No local board member would be eligible for selection to the board of directors for a term simultaneous with that of another member of the same local board already serving on KSBA's board.

Questions about the selection process or about service on KSBA's Board of Directors may be directed to KSBA Executive Director Kerri Schelling via email or at 1-800-372-2962 ext. 1276.

Boards seeking to fill superintendent openings

KSBA's Superintendent Search Service is currently facilitating searches in the following districts. Click the district name to be directed to the position posting.

Clinton County Schools

Application deadline: Nov. 19, 2023

Owensboro Independent Schools

Application deadline: Jan. 1, 2024

Questions? Contact [email protected].

2023 Clean School Bus Rebate Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the 2023 Clean School Bus (CSB) Rebate Program. This is the second rebate funding opportunity through the multi-year funding program. Under the 2023 rebate program, EPA anticipates awarding at least $500 million in rebate funding with the potential to modify this figure based on the application pool and other factors.

Eligible applicants can apply to receive funding for the purchase of up to 25 zero-emission (ZE) and/or clean school buses, along with ZE charging infrastructure and eligible workforce development costs. Selectees may be eligible for Inflation Reduction Act tax credits applicable to their bus and infrastructure purchases. For example, the Clean Vehicle tax credits for qualifying school buses are worth up to $40,000.

EPA is prioritizing applications that will replace buses serving high-need local education agencies and rural areas, among others. In addition, EPA is committed to ensuring the CSB Rebate Program delivers on the Biden-Harris Administration's Justice40 Initiative that at least 40% of the benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities.

Applicants must submit all application materials by 4 p.m. (ET) on Jan. 31, 2024. Learn more about the 2023 CSB Rebate Program.

EPA will host a series of public webinars regarding this rebate funding opportunity to provide potential applicants with an overview of the program, relevant information and available resources. Webinar schedule.

Nominations open for KOSAA KUP award

The Kentucky Association of Superintendents' Administrative Assistants (KOSAA) is now accepting nominations for the KOSAA KUP award. The KOSAA KUP (Knowledge, Understanding and Passion) award was established in 2022 to honor the exemplary service of KOSAA members and to celebrate the critical roles they play in the advancement of public education in Kentucky.

Honorees are those who have made significant contributions to public education through service in their district. Given annually, the award is presented to an individual member who exemplifies best practices, passionately advocates for needs of her/his district, demonstrates the highest ethical standards, celebrates the values of public service and actively engages in KOSAA events.

Review award criteria/instructions. For questions, contact Tammie Conatser at 502-695-4630 ext. 1106.

Online nomination form

KSBA is also accepting nominations for the 2024 Kentucky School Board Member of the Year Award and the PEAK Award. Visit the links for more information.

Nominations are also now open for KSBA’s 2024 First Degree College Scholarship and Career and Technical Education (CTE) Student Grant programs. The deadline for districts to submit nominees for both is Nov. 30. More information, including criteria and online nomination forms, can be found at

Upcoming dates, deadlines and events

Oct. 26: KSBA regional meetings continue

Nov. 1: Interim Joint Committee on Education

Nov. 1: Task Force on School and Campus Safety

Nov. 7: Election Day

Nov. 9: KDE Superintendents Webcast

Nov. 16: PEAK Award nomination deadline

Dec. 8-9: KSBA Winter Symposium

Dec. 15: Kentucky School Board Member of the Year Award nomination deadline

Dec. 15: KOSAA KUP Award nomination deadline

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

Tier 2 Affiliates

Kentucky School Boards Association | 502-695-4630 |
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