Take Note

Take Note

Take Note

New education advocacy faces
Hope McLaughlin, who has spent the past four years working as an advocate for higher education, is KSBA’s new director of Governmental Relations. She has been senior program coordinator in the University of Louisville’s Office of Governmental Relations.
 
McLaughlin analyzed and tracked hundreds of bills for the university during legislative sessions, as well as drafting bills and working with administrators, legislators and legislative staff on bills that affected the university and/or higher education in Kentucky. She collaborated with KSBA’s Governmental Relations team in past legislative sessions.
 
A native of Laurel County, McLaughlin was an intern for the Kentucky House of Representatives and Kentucky State Senate as she earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from U of L. In 2010, she received her Juris Doctor from the university’s Brandeis School of Law.
 
Also joining KSBA’s Governmental Relations team as a contract lobbyist during the 2015 legislative session is retiring Jefferson County school board member Debbie Wesslund. Wesslund has served on the staff of two U.S. representatives from large, rural districts, and also worked for two energy-related trade associations during 14 years working in Washington, D.C.
 
It’s a gas
The Kentucky Gas Aggregation Program is continuing to benefit school districts in parts of the state served by Columbia Gas. The KGAP program was created in 2011 by KSBA and Fellon-McCord, a Louisville-based international energy management firm. The free program helps districts cut their natural gas costs.
 
The more than a dozen districts in central to northeast Kentucky that are currently participating cumulatively have saved a little over a half-million dollars through KGAP’s supplier negotiation and effective market hedging. This year, Fellon-McCord identified a natural gas purchasing opportunity for districts served by Columbia Gas of Kentucky. The mild summer has stabilized pricing and locking in pricing now can avoid potential price risk from another extreme winter.
 
Districts that are eligible but currently not participating are Ashland and Frankfort independents, and Bath, Boyd, Carter, Clay, Estill, Floyd, Franklin, Greenup, Harrison, Knott and Nicholas counties. Officials in those districts interested in taking advantage of the negotiated KGAP rates should contact Trevor Joelson at Fellon-McCord, (502) 214-9335 or tjoelson@fellonmccord.com.
 
Questions about KGAP can be answered by Ron Willhite, Steve Smith or David Baird at KSBA, 800-372-2962.
 
Online policy manuals improved
KSBA’s Policy and Procedure service is now using a new, in-house software application that retains the features of online policy manuals, while providing enhanced security. The main visible change for school district users is the appearance and functionality of the new online manual. The new software also now allows users to print by chapter or print an entire manual if needed. To print by chapter, Internet Explorer should be used and the policy site added to the browser’s list of trusted sites.
“We’ve upgraded the infrastructure that runs the new online manual site to the latest standards, which will create a more secure environment. This will also allow us to release new enhancements more effectively in the future,” said Policy and Procedure Service Director Katrina Kinman.
League of extraordinary schools
The Owsley County school district has been selected to join a national network of school systems committed to innovation. The district was among 11 in the nation to be accepted into the Digital Promise League of Innovative Schools, based on leadership, evidence of results, innovative vision for learning and commitment to collaboration.
 
Members of the League are chosen by Today Digital Promise, a national nonprofit dedicated to accelerating innovation in education. Superintendent Dr. Tim Bobrowski (pictured during an October League workshop with education and technology policy officials at the White House Eisenhower Executive Office Building), said his district is looking forward to the knowledge and resources this membership will provide. “Likewise, our district looks forward to sharing with others what we find doesn’t and does work,” he said.
 
The League now includes 57 districts and education agencies that collectively represent more than 3 million students across 27 states. Photo provided by Digital Promise
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