Members who follow our Facebook and Twitter accounts know that the 2017 legislative session was filled with activity related to education. Several bills were passed that will have immediate and long-lasting implications for teachers and students. Below is a summary of these bills.
Senate Bill 1: This bill was dubbed, “The Teachers Can Teach” bill. SB 1 was passed to comply with the new federal guidelines that were put in place with the passage of ESSA (replacing NCLB) in December 2015. This bill removes the Program Review requirements, calls for a new student accountability system, and takes away some pieces of the Teacher Evaluation System.
Senate Bill 50:
SB 50 calls for each school district to form a Calendar Committee, including teachers, principals, classified staff, parents, community members and district administrators. Historically, FCPS has always had a Calendar Committee. Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, a local board MAY (this is not required) adopt a variable instructional school year calendar with the first student day starting no earlier than the Monday closest to August 26. However, student days can be no longer than 420 minutes, and the school year shall still meet the 1,062 student instructional hour requirement.
House Bill 520:
This bill allows for the creation of Public Charter Schools in Kentucky. Authorizers for public charters are the local school board, and in the case of Lexington and Louisville, the mayor. Those wishing to create a Charter School will need to apply to one of the authorizers; if they are denied, they can appeal to the Kentucky Board of Education. State and local tax dollars will follow the students to the Charter Schools, if they choose to attend. We do not expect to see the first Charter School in Kentucky until the 18-19 school year.
House Bill 128: With the passage of HB 128, schools may now offer a Bible Literacy Course (as an elective) at the high school level. Schools are not required to create the course and students are not required to take the course. This bill essentially calls for KDE to set the administrative regulations for the course, if any schools wishes offer it to students.
We expect that the Kentucky General Assembly will reconvene in September of this year for a special session to consider tax and pension reform. Please stay aware during the summer of developments regarding pension issues.