Kentucky School Advocate
December 2019School board members, supers seek SBDM reforms
KSBA President-elect Davonna Page joined Director of Advocacy Eric Kennedy and Boone County Superintendent Randy Poe on Nov. 20 to speak to legislators about school-based decision making council reforms at the Interim Joint Committee on Education meeting in Frankfort.
Sen. John Schickel, whose bill on the issue failed last session, joined in the group in asking that superintendents be allowed to hire principals in consultation with SBDMs.
Schickel said the current system “doesn’t give the people who have responsibility for our schools the proper tools they need to be successful, especially it the area of principal hiring,” he said.
Page, a Russellville Ind. board member, told the committee that the current process makes it hard for the superintendent to form a cohesive team to lead the district.
“This change will gain us a more genuine and effective chain of accountability from the classroom to the principal to the superintendent to the school board and ultimately, not only to the parents in the community, but all people of the community,” Page said. “It is vital that more of the public at large become invested and engaged in our schools.”
Kennedy added that the change would result in increased accountability for locally elected school board members.
Poe noted the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents also supports the proposed change.
The 2019 bill, Senate Bill 3, passed the Senate but failed in the House. Ultimately, through another bill, the legislature gave the superintendent of Jefferson County the ability to hire principals with SBDM consultation, however in the remainder of the state SBDMs retain the authority.Education groups ask for school safety funding
Groups representing school board members, superintendents and school administrators on Nov. 19 presented estimates to the legislature on the costs to implement School Safety and Resiliency Act.
The law, designed to improve school building safety and student well-being, passed the legislative during the last session but did not include funding.
Eric Kennedy, KSBA’s director of Advocacy, Rhonda Caldwell, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, and Jim Flynn, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, told the General Assembly’s Budget Review Subcommittee on Education the facility and personnel costs could be nearly $230 million.
To implement the eight facility requirements such as electronically locking exterior doors, classroom doors closed and locked during instruction, and covers for classroom door windows could be about $18 million.
The bill also calls for a school resource officer in every school which is estimated to cost another $71 million annually. Another personnel cost would be the funding the bill’s goal of one counselor per 250 students. That could cost another $140 million a year.
“This is not a small price tag and we knew that that this was coming,” said Sen. Chris McDaniel, chairman of the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee, adding that he wants to make sure the funding is equitably distributed among districts.
McDaniel also noted that it will be a tight state budget in part because the legislature is committed to funding the state’s pensions.
“We will give you certainty, you might not get every dollar you want, but you will get certainty from the process,” he said. “We want to fund, we committed to fund, and we intend to get there, but understand the constraints that we face.”