17 December Advocate

17 December Advocate

December 2017 cover
December 2017
Regional reward
There are actually five winners that make up KSBA’s fall PEAK (Public Education Achieves in Kentucky) Award honoree. They’re the five school districts that got together to form the iLead Academy, a selective regional career academy that is the official PEAK winner, now in its third year.

In the past, financially struggling school districts were able to make efficiencies and move on, with help from state education officials. But the situation facing many of eastern Kentucky’s coal counties is not in the same ballpark. What kind of help might they receive from the state?

A surreal situation
Districts affected by changes in the assessed value of unmined coal have had to cut to the bone to protect student learning. And their boards are faced with a local tax situation that is turned on its head.

Permanent solutions
While the possibility of short-term aid has been raised, hard-hit districts would like to look at more permanent ways of remedying their plight – focusing on the SEEK formula.

Not just coal 
A school district doesn’t have to be in a coal-producing area to be hit with devastating economic and demographic changes. Just ask Fulton County Schools in western Kentucky and Fairview Independent in the northeastern corner.

Age before efficiency?
More like efficiency before age. The century-old age of Anchorage Independent’s school building did not hamper efforts to bring it up to modern energy-efficiency standards. In fact, the school now proudly displays an ENERGY STAR.

Lessons in leading
Students in Sheri Bonzo’s biology classes at East Carter High School are learning leadership, responsibility, teamwork and more in a bit of role reversal. Bonzo has created a program that has students, loosely speaking, teaching the classes. 
The quote on the cover from Robin Kinney, associate commissioner of the state education department’s Office of Administration and Support, sums up the perilous situation eastern Kentucky coalfield districts are facing after making cuts due to loss of unmined minerals tax assessments and other factors. Special report begins here. (Photo from fotolia.com)
Executive Director
Director of Communications

Advocate Editor
Madelynn Coldiron

Publications Coordinator
Matt McCarty
Marketing Manager
Rachel Noble
View text-based website