Federal & State Law Update

Federal & State Law Update

Retooled conference on new state, federal laws zeros in on board members
Kentucky School Advocate
April 2017 
By Madelynn Coldiron
Staff writer
Same name, but sharper focus.

That sums up the approach to KSBA’s 11th Annual Federal & State Law Update, June 8–9 at Lexington’s Griffin Gate Resort.

The day-and-a-half update will cover state and federal law and regulation changes, along with school board policy updates, pending and recently decided court cases, opinions of the Kentucky attorney general and more. While these are familiar topics, the focus has been fine-tuned this year for school board members, said Kerri Schelling, KSBA’s director of Board Team Development.

“The idea is the same, but the target audience is school boards and the people who work most closely with them,” she said.

While the focus may have been adjusted a bit, “providing school leaders with the most up-to-date tools and information needed to remain legally compliant has been and will remain the crux of this event,” said Whitney Crowe, staff attorney for KSBA’s Legal Training Service, who is coordinating the conference.

“School law is never stagnant,” she added, “but we are seeing unprecedented legal changes in the field of education at both the federal and state levels.”
KSBA’s Governmental Relations Director Eric Kennedy, left, talks to Sen. Reggie Thomas after a Senate Education Committee meeting. Kennedy will be a presenter at the conference. 
Besides school board members, the training is open to superintendents, administrators and school board attorneys. It will be especially beneficial for members who are their board’s designated legislative liaisons. The event also will feature a timely presentation from the Kentucky Center for School Safety on school security risks and other hot-button safety issues; and the state education department has been invited to update attendees on the state’s new accountability system.

The length of the training gives school board members an opportunity to earn up to nine hours of Level IV and Level V credit in the Academy of Studies. Training at that level calls for sessions of at least three hours, geared to achieving a depth of knowledge on a topic. “With the wide variety of topics that board members want and need, it can be a challenge at our other conferences to schedule classes of sufficient length to meet these requirements,” Schelling said. “This is an excellent opportunity for any board member.”

The effort brings together three KSBA departments: Legal Training and Services, Policy Service, and Governmental Relations.

Governmental Relations Director Eric Kennedy will fill in attendees on the laws passed during the historic 2017 regular session of the General Assembly. “Several major education reform bills were debated extensively, including the charter school proposal that some have called the most significant reform proposal since KERA of 1990,” Kennedy said. At press time, that bill and others were still pending as the session was winding down, he added, “so we cannot know if some of these proposals will become law this year. However, during the Federal & State Law Update, we will discuss all the new laws that will impact our students and schools.”

Board policy updates will reflect that busy legislative session, as well as the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, which is in flux with a new administration. “Normally, we have about 35 policies and 20 procedures in the update,” said Janet Jeanes, principal policy consultant. But by mid-March, as the Kentucky School Advocate went to press, the Policy Service already had 49 policies and 25 procedures drafted for the update. “That number could go up or down depending what the General Assembly does and what Washington does with the ESSA regulations,” Jeanes added.

Watch KSBA’s website for registration information and other details about the 11th Annual Federal & State Law Update.
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