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Policy updates coming soon

Kentucky School Advocate
May 2022

By Katrina Kinman
KSBA Director of Policy & eMeeting Services

Changes to regulations and court cases require year-round monitoring by KSBA’s policy consultants and legal experts. While school boards may adopt or amend their district policies at any time, it is in the weeks during and immediately following the regular session of the General Assembly when KSBA Policy staff are particularly focused on crafting and updating model policy language.

When does the annual policy update happen and why then?

When all of the new laws passed by the General Assembly are final, our experienced staff begin to update model policy language. Drafts are then subject to an extensive review process by KSBA legal and advocacy staff. Once this process is complete, customized versions of the updated policy language are provided to each of the 170 school boards who use KSBA’s Policy Service. This happens at the end of May.

What do you mean when you say “model” policy language?

Model policy language is what KSBA believes to be consistent with legal requirements for school districts. Such language is not released by KSBA until our team has vetted and agreed on the language, so districts can rest assured that what they are receiving is solid. Remember, KSBA does not set law, but we take great pride in formulating policy language that we believe most effectively allows districts to operate within the law.

What steps must a board take to implement the new and/or updated policies?  

In general, once boards receive their update packages, they observe two readings of the new policy language as part of two separate meetings, although some boards do not have this requirement in policy. Per Board Policy 01.5, boards may also hold one “emergency” reading of policy with the rationale listed in the minutes to expedite this process. Administrative procedures only require one review (not approval) by the board with an opportunity to make comments. If boards adopt model policy language as written, which is common, this process can happen quite quickly. If the board wishes to customize the policies beyond the model language, additional steps are required. Boards should contact their KSBA policy consultant when considering modifications. Regardless of the extent of any changes, policies must receive board approval by the Aug. 15 statutory deadline. (KRS 160.340)

Many districts are eagerly awaiting model policy recommendations for a nonresident enrollment policy as determined by last year’s HB 563. What can districts expect?  

Districts already have nonresident student policies. HB 563 (2021), set to take effect on July 1, will change very little about what boards currently have in place. The most notable changes will be elimination of language referring to contracts or reciprocal agreements and language around ADA. Each district will receive a new nonresident policy in the update materials.

While there has been some confusion whether districts can charge non-residents tuition, the law clearly states that “any board of education may charge a reasonable tuition fee per month for each child attending its schools whose parent, guardian, or other legal custodian is not a bona fide resident of the district.” (KRS 158.120)

What are other areas districts can expect to see some notable policy changes?  

With the passage of SB 1, boards can expect changes to policies related to the superintendent’s authority in the hiring of principals and selection of curriculum. HB 678 temporarily suspends the requirement for state waivers for school construction, fast tracking projects that might otherwise be subject to costly delays, but this will not require a policy change.

KSBA’s (virtual) 2022 Federal and State Law Update will be 9 a.m. until noon (ET) on June 2.

For more information and to register visit ksba.org/LawUpdate.aspx.

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