Be an advocate for education
Kentucky School Advocate
By Eric Kennedy
KSBA Director of Advocacy
How can board members and superintendents best advocate for public education this legislative session? Should we come to Frankfort?
The best way to advocate regarding state legislation is to maintain a working relationship with your own state representative and state senator – all throughout the year but especially during the sessions – and to keep lines of communication open between you and them for comments you have on proposals. This will also allow them to ask you questions about how something works in public education or about how an idea would impact your district.
Doing this can take many forms. There is no one way to advocate with your lawmakers. We encourage board team members, parents, educators and school supporters to come to the Capitol in Frankfort during the session to visit with their legislators. However, for many reasons (logistical and otherwise), KSBA is not going to host a specific “LEAD Day” event as we have in prior years. Please consider bringing your own local group to Frankfort any day of the session by contacting your legislators to schedule a visit.
Kenton Co. Schools held a Legislators’ Appreciation Breakfast in December attended by Rep. Kimberly Moser, R-Taylor Mill, Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, and Rep. Kim Banta, R-Ft. Mitchell. KSBA’s Eric Kennedy encourages districts to invite legislators to board meetings and school events. (Provided by Kenton Co. Schools)How to contact legislators:
However, we have found that visits with legislators at home, in your districts, can be much more impactful than a trip to Frankfort. For that reason, we strongly encourage local boards to invite legislators to visit you at a board meeting or at a school to see students learning up close. Monday mornings are good days for this during the session, because most work in Frankfort begins late in the day on Mondays. Zoom calls are also a very convenient option for these discussions, especially for a brief update between a board and their legislator during an evening board meeting.
How can we follow along with session developments?
Above all, make sure that you receive KSBA’s Legislative Update email newsletter every Friday during session, beginning the first Friday in January. The weekly email provides all board members and superintendents with quick summaries of the week in Frankfort, a preview of the next week and suggestions of issues you can discuss with your legislators. Make sure that these emails are not ending up in your spam or junk folders. We also encourage you to watch KET’s nightly Legislative Update program hosted by Renee Shaw. The show airs at 11 p.m. (ET) weeknights on the main KET television channel. It covers all major legislative activity and explains the issues. The program is archived at ket.org, where you can also watch live-streamed coverage of the legislature as it happens. Lastly, please follow KSBA on Twitter at @ksbanews, which is often the first place we share critical developments from the Capitol.
Call the Legislative Research Commission’s Message Line (800-372-7181) to express your thoughts on a bill. The line is staffed from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday. (All times ET) Please be sure to let legislators know you are an elected school board member.
To reach your legislator’s office, call 502-564-8100 and ask for them by name.