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Legislative priorities

Kentucky Capitol

KSBA’s 2020 legislative priorities for public education

Kentucky School Advocate
December 2019

Enacting a state budget to adequately provide for the students of our common schools.
We ask the General Assembly to:
• Increase funding allocated through Base SEEK, to restore equity across communities.

• Restore funding to the Learning & Results Services programs, including family resource and youth service centers, instructional resources, state agency children, gifted and talented, and extended school services.

• Provide funding to implement school safety initiatives as required by 2019 SB 1/HB 1.

• Fully fund the state’s responsibility for pupil transportation and appropriate Volkswagen settlement proceeds for safe, alternative fuel school buses. 

• Fund the equalization of local nickel tax levies for safe, adequate facilitates. 

• Increase the SEEK add-on rate for exceptional children to address the growth in this population, including our children with delays caused by neonatal abstinence syndrome. 

• Close readiness gaps through support of the Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS) program, the Dept. for Community Based Services. 

• Clarify district financial publication requirements to allow for online financial notices. 

• Appropriate the full required contribution to the Teachers’ Retirement System and the full amount needed for school employee health insurance, as well as the full amount needed for pre-Medicare retirees per the Shared Responsibility Plan enacted in 2010. 

• Study the adequacy of current SEEK add-on rates and the need to create additional add-ons for new at-risk populations.

Balancing school-based decision making (SBDM) council and school board authority
To improve the balance in SBDM and board decision-making roles to advance both student success and public accountability, we ask the General Assembly to:
• Allow superintendents to select principals, after consultation with the SBDM council.

• Enact a review process allowing boards to examine council actions that may be hindering the operation of the district.

Supporting students in foster care through collaboration and information sharing
With a record number of children in foster care facing significant trauma and unique barriers to learning, districts need help to meet their full educational and support needs. We ask the General Assembly to:
• Require a child’s social worker to accompany the student when enrolling in a new school, in order to facilitate critical information sharing among educators, social workers and foster parents.

• Require the Dept. for Community Based Services and all private child-placing agencies to inform each other when any of them close a foster home. 

• Require Infinite Campus to make it easier and faster to transfer foster children’s educational records among districts. 

Improving CERS governance & accountability to members, employers and taxpayers
School board employees constitute half of the County Employees Retirement System (CERS), yet these employees and employers are underrepresented on the governing board. We ask the General Assembly to:
• Establish a separate, independent CERS Board of Trustees focused exclusively on the best interests of the CERS trust funds and beneficiaries, to provide transparency and accountability, and to protect the fiduciary duty owed to them. 

Adopting tax reforms to increase general fund revenues and diversify local taxes
Statewide student equity requires investment from Frankfort, and the state needs additional money to do that. We ask the General Assembly to:
• Adopt a moratorium on all new tax expenditures including credits, deductions and exemptions; and sunset existing expenditures as recommended by the General Assembly’s 2018 Task Force on Tax Expenditures to fix the “leaky bucket.”

• Increase state revenue in a manner that grows with the economy.

• Provide flexibility and diversification in the taxes school boards may levy, in line with the goals of state tax reform efforts.

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