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KSBA News Article

Regional meetings prompt discussion on local decision making, role of school boards

Fall Regional Meetings

Kentucky School Advocate
October 2021

Staff report

Following a year in which all KSBA Fall Regional meetings were hosted virtually, this year association members eagerly returned to cafeterias, gymnasiums and libraries, gathering with colleagues for dinner, training and important conversations on issues facing districts.

Between Aug. 31 and Sept. 28, KSBA staff traveled throughout the state for seven of 12 regional meetings, each hosted by a regionally elected chairperson and his/her district. The meetings afford participating board teams the opportunity to interact with neighboring districts and address topics in a more local context. Many of the meetings are also attended by state legislators and community leaders.

The discussions are not the only aspects of regional meetings that provide local flair. Host districts regularly find meaningful ways to involve students in the program. Pulaski County students provided artwork and table décor while FFA students from Murray Independent gave facility tours. Student vocalists from Anderson County performed the national anthem while Hazard Independent Schools played a student-produced video on the importance of COVID-19 vaccines.

KSBA’s 2021 meeting program centers around the balance of local and state decision-making authority regarding public schools. Following a breakdown of the results of our recent legislative survey, attendees are prompted to discuss what they (and their constituents) consider to be the respective responsibilities of local and state officials.

“The principle of local decision-making, and where the lines are drawn for local versus state issues, is nothing new,” said KSBA Executive Director Kerri Schelling during the Upper Kentucky River regional meeting at Hazard Independent on Sept. 13. “School boards and the communities they serve are too diverse to expect 100 percent agreement on everything. But given the current landscape, it is important to find mutual understanding of issues surrounding local decision-making.”

The roundtable conversations have focused on hot topics boards are facing this year, said KSBA Director of Communications Josh Shoulta.

“Discussions thus far have regularly gravitated towards issues that our school boards are receiving the most questions about,” he said, “masking requirements, curriculum decisions, equitable state funding.”

Visit our Facebook page for photos from the regional meetings

More details, including meeting times and locations are available via the Regional Meetings page of KSBA's website. Districts receive emailed invitations to their respective meetings from the host district/ chairperson in the weeks prior to each meeting. Email beth.pritchett @ksba.org with questions.

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