Annual board policy updates on the horizon
Kentucky School Advocate
By Katrina Kinman
KSBA Director of Policy & eMeeting Services
Monitoring changes to federal and state education regulations and court decisions is a year-long undertaking for KSBA policy and legal experts. It is immediately following the regular session of the General Assembly, however, when things really get busy. KSBA will soon issue its much-anticipated annual policy updates to boards.
Why are the weeks following a legislative session so important for school boards?
KSBA’s experienced policy staff monitor legislation during the session to determine if policy changes are warranted. Following the conclusion of the session, staff begin the careful process of drafting updates to model policy language. Drafts are then subject to a thorough review process by KSBA legal and advocacy staff. Once finalized, customized versions of the updated policy language are provided to each of the 170 boards who use KSBA’s Policy Service.
What steps must a board take to implement the new and/or updated policies?
Boards can expect to receive their update packages at the end of May. In general, the board must observe two readings of the new policy language as part of two separate meetings. If boards opt to adopt model policy language as written, this process can happen quite quickly. If, however, the board wishes to customize the policies beyond the model language, the process may require additional steps. Boards should contact their KSBA policy consultant when considering modifications to the drafts.
Annually, policies must receive board approval by the Aug. 15 statutory deadline. (KRS 160.340)
Has legislation implemented in response to COVID generated the substantial need for new policy?
No. So much of the legislative action taken in response to COVID-19 has represented temporary changes that will not be in effect beyond this year. Take for instance Senate Bill 128, the supplemental school year bill, which requires school boards to approve or deny all requests made by students seeking a supplemental year of schooling because of the pandemic. While consequential, the legislation would not require districts to implement new permanent policies to accommodate this process. Boards that choose to grant a supplemental year are required to adopt a plan for submission to the Kentucky Department of Education no later than June 16. This temporary document lives outside the policies themselves.
What is one thing you would want boards and the communities they serve to know about KSBA’s policy update process?
KSBA’s model policy language – what is provided to boards for consideration – is informed by laws and/or best practices. KSBA does not set law, but our policy consultants and attorneys take great pride in formulating policy language that we believe most effectively allows districts to operate within the law.
If boards or district staff have questions about any district policy, they should first seek out the advice of board counsel. Policy contacts within each district are also encouraged to reach out to their assigned KSBA policy consultant. KSBA’s policy consultants may be contacted at 800.372.2962.
If you were unable to attend KSBA’s 15th Annual Federal and State Law Update webinar, a recording is now available for viewing on demand. Contact KSBA Director of Board Team Development Laura Cole at 800-372-2962 or [email protected] for more information.