Kentucky School Advocate
By Brenna R. Kelly
The General Assembly on March 18 passed a bill to help districts manage the extended school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senate Bill 177 contains emergency provisions for the 2019-20 school year including allowing districts to use unlimited NTI days.
The bill also:
• Allows the commissioner of education to waive the instructional hours for this year, if a district cannot make up the hours by June 12.
• Allows for state agency children programs (KECSAC) to have similar waivers so that the programs will not have to meet their extended school year.
• While it does not automatically provide emergency leave to employees, the bill says that a board of education shall allow emergency leave to any full- or part-time classified or certified employee if the board determines it is necessary for the COVID-19 emergency and instructs boards to waive any requirement for personal affidavits. This allows boards to determine if and who needs leave.
• Allows KBE to waive K-PREP testing if approved by the federal government. As of March 24, the U.S. Department of Education had granted Kentucky a waiver.
• Directs KDE to seek and take advantage of any waivers from the federal government involving the federal IDEA law.
• Allows a local board to revise the district’s certified evaluation plan.
• Allows educational enhancement opportunity days as needed for a graduating senior to meet military or postsecondary obligations.
• Allows notices for classified or certified employees regarding salary or non-renewal of contracts to be sent via regular mail or email.
• Allow districts to use 2018-19 average daily attendance for the 2019-20 school year for SEEK allocation.
The bill was signed by the governor and took effect immediately, retroactive to March 6, the day of the emergency declaration.