Take Note

Take Note

Take Note

Kentucky School Advocate
February 2018
Since 2015-16, school boards effectively have been required to use a superintendent evaluation system mandated by the Kentucky Department of Education, an initiative pushed by former Commissioner Terry Holliday.

No more. While KDE still must approve all superintendent evaluation plans, it will “no longer be requiring adherence to the (Superintendent Professional Growth and Effectiveness System) model that was created under Commissioner Holliday,” according to a memo from KDE General Counsel Kevin Brown.

In his memo, Brown said the education department hopes boards still will continue to incorporate the best practices from the SPGES model. Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt will be looking to see that local boards develop evaluation plans “that are meaningful and that are tied to goals that impact student achievement, gap closure, and other items that are relevant to the success of students in each district,” the memo said. “Failure of local boards to develop and maintain such plans could result in KDE asking for amended evaluation plans from local boards.”

School boards had the option of devising their own plans under the Holliday administration but KDE rejected the only plan developed by a local board. Prior to the Holliday-imposed system, some districts had used a KSBA model for evaluating the superintendent. At this point, however, the association is awaiting more guidance from KDE about the parameters it will accept in this new era, said Jean Crowley, KSBA Board Team Development specialist.

Because of that, and because districts are midway through the current evaluation process, “we recommend that school boards continue to use the SPGES process,” Crowley said. By July 1, she added, KSBA hopes to have more information to assist boards that may want to develop their own process.

The SPGES has some strengths, she noted; among them are the conversations about goals between the board and superintendent, and the ongoing nature of the process itself.
NSBA Conference logo National exposure 
Two Kentucky school districts have been chosen to present 75-minute educational workshops during the National School Boards Association’s annual conference, April 7–9 in San Antonio.

The principal of Jefferson County’s Fairdale High School, Brandy Corbin, will outline how the school initiated a turnaround, using innovative strategies and supports, to become a high-achieving school with increased college and career readiness levels. 

In the focus area of school board/superintendent partnerships, Marion County Schools Superintendent Taylora Schlosser will explain the district’s strategic plan, which led to community support for a tax to finance a new school and other improvements, and its Six Big Dreams that address the whole child from birth to graduating college and career ready.

Revenue alert 
The federal tax reform bill approved by Congress could have an unexpected effect on the bottom line of some Kentucky school districts that levy a utility tax. Because the new law reduced the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent at the first of the year, the Kentucky Public Service Commission has ordered the state’s for-profit utilities to begin tracking their savings under the lower tax rates, in anticipation of passing along the savings to customers in the form of lower utility rates.

The outcome could have the effect of reducing the taxable revenue for districts that have a utility tax. All but 15 districts levy the tax in 2017-18, according to the state education department. All but one of the districts with the tax set a 3 percent rate.

“The process is just getting started,” said Ron Willhite, director of KSBA’s School Energy Managers Project. “But there’s no doubt it’s going to happen.” It’s too soon to provide any specific numbers on the fiscal effect on districts, he added. “The positive side is that affected districts will benefit from the reduced utility rates that will lower their utility costs. In the end, the net effect will vary by district.”
Three KSBA staffers were recognized for service milestones. They are, L-R, with Executive Director Kerri Schelling at far right, Leah Herrera (10 years), Shannon Robinson (five years) and Madelynn Coldiron (20 years). Longevity
Three KSBA staffers were recognized for service milestones during the association’s annual holiday gathering. They are, L-R, with Executive Director Kerri Schelling at far right, Controller Leah Herrera (10 years), Training & Conference Coordinator Shannon Robinson (five years) and Communications Services Manager Madelynn Coldiron (20 years).
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