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Education briefs

Kentucky School Advocate
July/August 2019 
CTE task force formed    
A legislative task force is examining career and technical education in Kentucky in advance of the General Assembly’s upcoming budget session. The panel, made up of eight Senate and House members and an Educational Professional Standards Board representative, is examining the funding mechanisms of state-operated area technology centers (ATCs) and locally operated career and technical centers, which are funded differently. 
Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis, who has called for legislators to create a unified system that would merge the 53 ATCs and the locally operated centers, has said that funding for both centers is too low to deliver quality CTE programs. 
Previous studies of Kentucky’s CTE system have recommended such a merger. The legislative task force will make recommendations, including possible legislation. In addition to funding, the group will examine higher education’s role and the vocational teacher ranking system.  
The task force’s next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 11. 

STOP! Tip line to be expanded      
Senate Bill 1, the school safety bill, called for the creation of an anonymous reporting tool to allow students, parents and the public to report information that could indicate unsafe, harmful, dangerous, violent or criminal activity in public schools.
The Kentucky Center for School Safety (KCSS), the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security (KOHS) and other public education stakeholders decided to expand KCSS’s existing STOP! Tip line to all Kentucky public schools at no cost. KOHS will administer the tip line to provide 24/7 live support by an intelligence analyst.
In the event of a reported tip involving a public school, KOHS will notify three school representatives. Promotional posters will be distributed to schools in early August. For more information on the tip line program, contact Jason Childers, KOHS school safety analyst, at [email protected] or (502) 892-3386. 

Supreme Court to hear tax credit case      
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review a Montana case involving a tuition tax-credit program.  
Montana’s highest court struck down the program which allowed tuition scholarships to benefit students at private religious schools as well as secular schools. 
The justices will hear arguments for the case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, during the new term which begins in October, according to Edweek.
The state high court said that the Montana Constitution “more broadly prohibits ‘any’ state aid to sectarian schools and draws a more stringent line than that drawn by” the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against government establishment of religion.
Montana’s program allowed Montanans to receive a tax credit of up to $150 for donations to approved scholarship organizations for private schools or “innovative education programs” in public schools. Before it was struck down, the state had dedicated $3 million to the program. 

EPSB to tackle teacher recruitment      
In order to combat teacher shortages, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is planning a campaign to recruit people to the profession, Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis said at the June 17 meeting of the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB). 
One element of the campaign will highlight alternative routes to the classroom.
“I find often in talking to people they’re not aware of all of the routes that are available, and lots of times folks think that the routes are much more onerous than they really are,” Lewis said. There have consistently been shortages of career and technical education and special education teachers and of all teachers in certain areas of the state. 
In recent years, schools have begun seeing shortages at the elementary level, Lewis said. EPSB will be examining the topic at future meetings.

School bus driver pay examined      
A report by Business Insider looked at the salaries of school bus and special client drivers across the country. Kentucky’s median annual pay for such drivers was $34,400, higher than most surrounding states.
Tennessee, West Virginia and Indiana all paid between $25,200 and $25,700. Ohio’s median pay was $29,500 and Illinois was $35,900. 
The highest salaries for bus drivers was $44,600 in Hawaii and the lowest was $18,200 in Alabama.
The numbers were compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2018 Occupational Employment Statistics report.
Education Calendar
Aug. 5: Kentucky Board of Education meeting
Aug. 21: Interim Joint Committee on Education
Sept. 3: KSBA Fall Regional Meetings begin
Sept. 8-14: Celebrate Arts in Education Week
Sept. 10: PEAK Award nomination deadline
Sept. 11: Interim Joint Committee on Education
Sept. 11: Career and Technical Education Task Force
Nov. 22-23: KSBA Winter Symposium 

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