Kentucky Association of School Superintendents (KASS)

2019 Legislative Priorities

 

Role of School Based Decision Making (SBDM) Councils – In order to provide authority alignment with the responsibility to advance student achievement in Kentucky Public Schools, the role of SBDM Councils should become advisory within the governance model for public education. Such a change would allow the district and school leaders most accountable for student learning the ability to make school management decisions as evidenced by research as most impactful in improving student achievement.

Educator Due Process including Tribunal Language Reform – In the pursuit of every student being college and career ready which demands the very highest quality teachers in every classroom, KASS urges the General Assembly to make changes to the tribunal system that while granting due process, also becomes a fair and efficient process to effectively separate teacher behavioral issues from performance issues. Teacher Tenure Reform – In the pursuit of every student being college and career ready which demands the very highest quality teachers in every classroom, KASS urges the General Assembly to make changes to the teacher tenure process to ensure that such tenure is only granted to teachers after an adequate determination of their skills, abilities, and performance is considered.

Kentucky Teachers’ Retirement System – A sound pension system helps Kentucky recruit and retain quality teachers. Quality teachers and staff are the primary evidence-based factor to improve student achievement. Kentucky teachers are, in almost all cases, prohibited from participating in Social Security so TRS benefits are their only economic safety net in retirement. KASS implores the General Assembly to continue full funding of the pension systems while maintaining a pension structure of a defined benefit system protected by the inviolable contract.

Educator Development and Support – The fundamental purpose of P-12 education in Kentucky is to prepare students for success in life and upon graduation ready for post-training and careers. The number one factor influencing student learning achievement and success in our schools is the quality of the professional educators working with and around our students. The research is clear, improving the instructional and leadership capacity of teachers, principals, superintendents and other educational professionals is critically important to our educational progress in Kentucky. Kentucky’s educational policies must ensure we can attract and retain the best and brightest people to serve our schools. Our policy approaches must ensure these professionals receive quality professional development and training over their careers, along with the resources and tools to do their jobs and deliver on achieving our goals.

Long-Term Priority – In order to ensure that all students are college and career ready, it is necessary to receive adequate and equitable funding from the General Assembly according to their responsibility based on Section 183 of the Kentucky Constitution. The lack of such funding severely impacts our most vulnerable and at-risk students and is most visibly noted in the areas of pupil transportation, preschool, and all-day kindergarten.

The SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky) formula is not a funding formula as it has been called but rather is a distribution formula designed to provide equitably for school districts in most areas of funding when it is adequate in its base which is set by the General Assembly. When base funding is inadequate, all areas of funding are exponentially negatively impacted as each other area of funding is a factor of the base. In addition, the lack of adequate funding at the state level has required local taxpayers to bear the burden of higher property taxes as local school districts have limited means of raising revenue locally. The General Assembly should provide more flexibility for local school boards in their ability to implement or raise taxes to support their students.