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Kentucky school board members set two records in annual state-mandated professional development; 11,725-plus hours earned
Kentucky school board members set two records in annual state-mandated professional development; 11,725-plus hours earned

Kentucky’s 869 local board of education members collectively earned the highest-ever total number of hours of training in 2014, according to a KSBA report approved last week by the Kentucky Board of Education.

Local board members attained 11,725.75 credit hours during 2014 – the most ever since the state board of education designated KSBA as the institution to track and report on compliance with state training requirements for board members.

KSBA Director of Board Team Development Kerri Schelling said the total represents an 11.5 percent increase over the total training hours recorded in 2013.

“Once again, local board members really did an outstanding job of meeting the expectations for their professional development,” Schelling told the KBE at its June 2 meeting in Frankfort.

2104 was the first year in which the KBE required all board members to receive training in specific areas – finance, ethics and superintendent evaluations – as part of their mandated hours based on years of service. Board members with up to four years’ service must have a total of 12 hours of training annually. Members with four to seven years are required to get eight hours of training, while those with more than eight years in office must earn four hours each year. The topical training areas are part of those minimum hours required.

“Overall, 93.5 percent of all board members exceeded their minimum training-hour requirement,” Schelling said. “I think it’s interesting to note that 97 percent of board members who are in their third term or beyond exceeded the minimum number of hours. That’s up from 89 percent in 2013.” Schelling added that that figure also is a record for the most veteran board members.

“We had a total of 21 board members who did not meet the requirements, but I would point out that nine of them were appointed very late in the year,” she said. “Everybody earned some hours, but they just didn’t have enough time in some cases to be able to (meet the requirement). The regulation does allow this board to grant them an extension of time to get their remaining hours.” The state board approved that request.

Of the 12 sitting board members who were in office for all of 2014, several were short by as little as 30 minutes of training while two needed three hours. Seven earned the required hours but failed to report them by the Dec. 31 deadline. The KBE approved a waiver for those hours to be counted.

“In some cases, a board member did earn the minimum number of training hours overall, but they did not get the mandatory topics. That was the hang-up for a majority of these members,” Schelling said. “They may have earned plenty of hours; they just didn’t get in those required topics.”

The KBE directed staff of the Department of Education’s legal unit to send a letter to the remaining 5 board members, giving them 30 days to complete their training and notify the department. After that, the department will notify the Office of the Attorney General to begin removal proceedings for any board members failing to meet the requirements.