Presidential salaries at Kentucky's public universities and community colleges have grown far faster than the wages of faculty members in recent years. Pay increases for university presidents ranged from 5 percent to 34 percent between 2006 and 2010, according to a new report from the Legislative Research Commission. For faculty, the average pay raise was 7.7 percent statewide during the same period, according to the Southern Regional Education Board.
By Jim Warren, Lexington Herald-Leader & Greg Kocher, Lexington Herald-Leader
Morgan County reached another milepost on the road to recovery Monday as 1,900 public school students returned to classes for the first time since the March 2 tornado ravaged the community. The start of classes was especially triumphant for the staff and students of West Liberty Elementary School. Their school was destroyed, so they resumed their studies in the manufacturing and warehouse space formerly occupied by Boneal Inc.
Kentucky is applying for two additional waivers being offered through the U.S. Department of Education from the No Child Left Behind standards. The commonwealth was one of several states that already received waivers from NCLB this year. Those states now have the chance to apply for the additional waivers. One allows states to be exempt from the adequate yearly progress (AYP) standard, which many education professionals say sets unreachable goals for schools, including making 100 percent of students proficient in math and reading by 2014.
The main office at River Ridge Elementary School is identified by a sign that says “office” and “oficina” for English- and Spanish-speaking students and parents. If the school wanted to cover all of the students whose native language is not one of those two, they’d need to add 18 more translations. Though the vast ethnicity may surprise some people, River Ridge is not unique in that sense in Northern Kentucky. There are 64 languages spoken by students in the 18 public school districts in Boone, Campbell, Kenton, Gallatin, Grant and Pendleton counties, and 100 languages spoken statewide.
Kentucky’s low-achieving schools are receiving another round of federal School Improvement Grant funding. Forty-one Kentucky schools have been called persistently low-achieving under the No Child Left Behind standards, and they can use the federal SIG funds to implement models to help turn around student achievement. Only the first cohort, or group, of schools deemed low-achieving was guaranteed a full three years of federal support.
House Speaker Greg Stumbo is blasting a report that recommends the University of Pikeville not be moved into the state university system. Stumbo is a chief supporter of making UPIKE Kentucky’s ninth public university. But a report by an outside agency commissioned by Governor Steve Beshear says the measure wouldn’t do enough to help raise education levels in far eastern Kentucky. Stumbo rejected the report’s findings, saying the increased collaboration and creation of scholarships the report calls for isn’t enough.
Kentucky State University officials are installing a guardhouse at the main entrance on East Main Street to provide more security on campus. The guardhouse will be used as an information post for people entering campus, KSU spokeswoman Felicia Lewis said. It will be a source for campus directions and parking passes. Students and the general public will have to show identification at times, Lewis said, such as during emergencies and special events.
They may be a few years away from graduation, but Kentucky 8th and 10th graders are already thinking about life after high school. Sophomores made their way to the library at George Rogers Clark High School in Winchester Monday. This week thousands of students across the state are sitting down with community volunteers to talk about career aspirations, and what it will take to meet those goals. The program is called Operation Preparation.
A proposal to make the University of Pikeville a public institution died in a state House committee on Tuesday. However, state Rep. Leslie Combs, primary sponsor of the bill which would have seen UPike receive coal severance money to reduce its tuition, said the issue isn’t finished. “It’s over for this year,” she said. “But the debate will continue on.” In the place of the UPike proposal, the House Education Committee, of which Combs is a member, approved a substitute bill which will provide scholarship funding for students in the 16-county coal producing region to attend four-year programs in the area.
Eastern Kentucky school districts that were hammered by last week's tornadoes and thunderstorms are hoping to reopen next week, but some of the worst hit still are scrambling to find places for their students to go. Educators said the school year has been significantly disrupted for thousands of students. Some districts have been closed this week because of storm damage, while others are closed because school buildings are being used for storm relief efforts. Schools in Magoffin, Morgan and Wolfe counties sustained severe damage.
A bill creating a new scholarship fund from coal severance tax monies has cleared a House committee this morning. The scholarships have evolved from an original proposal that would have added the University of Pikeville into the state university system.
Lawmakers have reached a compromise on a proposal to create more educational opportunities in eastern Kentucky. House Speaker Greg Stumbo has been advocating to move the University of Pikeville into the state university system. But that proposal doesn’t currently have the support to become reality, which forces supporters to adopt a compromise.
A compromise on the contentious issue of making the University of Pikeville a public school is being worked out behind the scenes of this year's General Assembly. The potential plan would use coal severance tax money that had been envisioned for UPike to fund a new financial aid program for aspiring students from coal-producing counties, Western Kentucky University President Gary Ransdell said Wednesday.
Budget cuts proposed by Gov. Steve Beshear would stunt growth at Northern Kentucky University and in the surrounding job market, the university’s leadership told lawmakers Tuesday. But state legislators appeared pessimistic about finding funding in the two-year budget the General Assembly must pass this year. Beshear’s proposed budget would cut state funding to public universities by 6.4 percent, which equals $3.2 million for NKU on top of $6 million worth of cuts from the previous six years.
A dozen universities and colleges in central and eastern Kentucky have strengthened their partnership. During a signing ceremony today, they created the Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium. Among them are Morehead State, the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University. EKU President Doug Whitlock says the agreement remove many of the barriers that separate these institutions.
Eastern Kentucky University President Doug Whitlock is staying neutral on the proposal to bring the University of Pikeville into the state college system. EKU is one of two universities expected to lose students if UPIKE becomes public. The other is Morehead State University, which is actively campaigning against the move.
Gov. Steve Beshear is in Louisville today to talk with education representatives from over 20 states. Louisville is hosting a conference on the Common Core State Standards this week. Attendees include higher-education leaders who want to align their college and career readiness standards with those in place at public schools.
Education professionals in Louisville say if Gov. Steve Beshear’s early childhood education initiatives are approved, it may drive more collaboration between public and private child care providers. Beshear has allocated $15 million in his budget to offer early childhood learning to thousands more children who are slightly above the poverty line, but that money can only go to public schools. However, not all public schools offer what parents want for their children.
41 Kentucky high schools will soon be receiving grants, but the money won't be going to teachers or administrators. Students will be deciding how the money is spent. The program is called Students Taking Charge, which is part of Kentucky Action for Healthy Kids. It distributes $500 grants to schools in the hopes that students will take the reins, explore projects that might improve health and nutrition, and use the funds to implement effective changes.
This year’s Republican presidential hopefuls have been making their way through Ohio over the past couple weeks looking for votes in the state’s March 6thprimary. The candidates have some unified themes when it comes to education, mostly around cutting back on federal and state spending on public schools and increasing school choice. Currently, the federal government chips in only about 10 percent toward the cost of public education in America. But even that small amount is more than the federal government used to contribute.
Debbie McCoy’s 16-year-old daughter Brittany will walk across the stage with her peers on graduation day, but she won’t leave the Frankfort Convention Center with a diploma. Instead, Brittany, who has learning disabilities, will walk out with a certificate that says she completed her time at Franklin County High School. Her mother calls that distinction heartbreaking. Legislation now making its way through the state House would change the name of the document from “certificate of attainment” to “alternate diploma.” Senate Bill 43 won unanimous approval in the Senate and cleared a House panel Tuesday. It now awaits a vote by the full House.
Maysville historian Jerry Gore will be rewarded for his educational efforts with an award from the National Education Association. Gore will be receiving the Carter G. Woodson Memorial Award, during the NEA Human and Civil Rights Awards Dinner in July. "I am highly humbled and highly honored because I do not see it as an honor to me but an honor to community and state," Gore said on Tuesday. "It relates to the lessons we learned from slavery and Underground Railroad that have ties to what we are learning today."
President Wayne Andrews of Morehead State University doesn’t want to divide the pie and give a slice to the University of Pikeville. President Paul Patton of Pikeville says he wants to graduate more students from eastern Kentucky who will stay and work in eastern Kentucky. Monday night’s Kentucky Tonight program heard these views as well as those from two other guests, Rep. Leslie Combs, who supports former Governor Patton, and Bell County Judge Executive Alvey Brock, who opposes a move to make the University of Pikeville a part of the state’s system of higher education. Judge Brock opposes the move based on Patton’s idea to use the twelve-county coal severance tax fund to aid the University of Pikeville’s move into the higher education system.
An ongoing dispute between a second-grader at Anne Mason Elementary School and the Scott County Board of Education is emerging as an issue with potential national implications, pitting the board against the U.S. government and the American Diabetes Association. The case involves a 7-year-old, fitted with an insulin pump, who wants to attend school with his siblings and friends at Eastern Elementary.
Mike Mullins, who took over the reins of Hindman Settlement School in Knott County in 1977 and helped turn it into a regional cultural and educational center, died Sunday night, apparently of a heart attack. He was 63. As executive director of the school, Mr. Mullins' tasks ranged from fund-raising to fixing broken pipes. He tackled each with a hands-on, no-nonsense and down-to-earth approach, according to his friends. His impact extended far beyond Knott County and Eastern Kentucky.
As University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto watches state and federal dollars dip, a new source of funding has emerged: research grants from abroad. “We live in a new normal,” he told members of the Frankfort Rotary Club Thursday. “The expectation of the traditional sources of funding – state and federal support – are going to be flat, and we’re realizing in Kentucky this year, they may even decline for the next several years.” But by expanding research partnerships abroad and looking for opportunities to collaborate with foreign countries, Capilouto said UK can weather the economic storm.
Kentucky adults considering returning to college have a free resource to help them make decisions about higher education. Adults Returning to School is published by the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA), the state agency that administers Kentucky student financial aid programs and provides college planning materials.
More low-income Kentucky families would be able to send their child to public preschool under a plan to expand eligibility requirements. Half-day preschool programs are currently open to 4-year-olds in families with income at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. In his budget proposal, Governor Steve Beshear would raise that income cap to 160 percent of the poverty level.
Understanding the value that early childhood experiences play in the future successes of Kentucky’s youth, Gov. Steve Beshear Thursday discussed his proposal to expand preschool services across Kentucky. Surrounded by preschool students at Dixie Magnet Elementary School in Lexington, the governor called for raising the eligibility level for 4-year-olds in families whose income is at or below 160 percent of poverty level in Fiscal Year 2014 and increasing it to 200 percent by the end of his term.