The Commonwealth is seeing gains and losses in its race to reach top tier national status in key areas of education. In 2008, the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence challenged the state to reach the top 20 by the year 2020.
The committee Wednesday released an update on the state's progress. According to the report, Kentucky is on track to meet the goal in areas like fourth and eighth grade reading, teacher salaries, and Advanced Placement credits. However, the state has lost ground in areas including eighth grade math and the share of higher education costs to families.
"Our district wants to do better," said Breathitt County High School principal Derek McKnight. "The fear is, if the state left tomorrow, would we go back to the same practices that we were seeing before? And I'm afraid that we would."
Credit Lexington Herald Leader
The Kentucky Board of Education has decided to keep control of the Breathitt County school district for up to three more years.
Kentucky's ACT scores are improving at a higher rate than students nationally. Kentucky's composite ACT average has improved almost a full percentage point over the last four years. State Department of Education Associate Commissioner Ken Draut says that's promising. "In the ACT world, a point one gain, point two gain is considered a very nice gain across time. What we're seeing across time is, you know picking up a full point over five years in several different areas," said Draut.
Monday is the first day of the fall semester at Eastern Kentucky University. Sharon Lott is beginning her tenure in EKU's American Sign Language and Interpreter Education program. She comes to the Richmond school after teaching 20 years in North Carolina.
Universities must comply with numerous laws, regulations and policies. Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson says there are federal reporting requirements for everything from financial aid, to accounting, to on-campus crime statistics.
Thousands of additional students in Lexington public schools are now eligible to receive free breakfast and lunch.
The free meal program expansion comes without a financial impact to the local school district.
When the new school year begins Wednesday in Fayette County, all students at 27 qualified schools can eat free. Child Nutrition Director Michelle Coker says only one school offered this program last year. "It was a surprise we had that many sites. That was a good surprise," said Coker.
University of Kentucky athletics is entering into a $210 million dollar multimedia marketing rights agreement with JMI Sports. The 15-year agreement is being called "one of the most valuable partnerships of it's kind."
School nutritionists from across the Commonwealth are trying to get more students to eat healthier meals during the instructional day. About 700 school cooks, managers, and administrators are meeting for a statewide conference this week in Lexington.
The Lexington-based International Book Project is initiating an electronic reader program in South Africa.
75 e-readers are scheduled to be shipped overseas later this summer. International Book Project Director Kristen Svarczkopf says each electronic instrument will feature several books with mostly African publishers. "So, this is a way that we could get books to people we haven't been able to before in really rural areas like the small shipment method does, but at a lower cost and has the added benefit of introducing them to technology," said Svarczkopf.
The University of Kentucky is one of 37 research schools receiving grant dollars to help retain science and math students. UK is getting almost two million dollars from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Eastern Kentucky University is about to become tobacco-free system wide. Eastern's main campus in Richmond and extended sites in Corbin, Danville, and Manchester will go smoke, chewing and snuff-free next week.
Allegations of mismanagement, fraud, and waste in the Fayette County School System were a "front and center" issue at Wednesday night's board meeting.
Budget Director Julane Mullins made the claims this week in an email to board members. She contends it is a 20 million dollar irregularity. The board meeting opened with an in-depth presentation by the school district's Financial Services Department Director Rodney Jackson. He told the board, "there is not 20 million dollars missing and there was never 20 million dollars missing."
Kentucky's auditor will review mismanagement allegations made regarding the state's second largest school district.
State Auditor Adam Edelen says his office will conduct a special examination of financial mismanagement allegations within Fayette County Public Schools. A timeline for completion of the audit has not been set.
The superintendent of Fayette County Schools is rejecting an allegation of a $20 million irregularity within the system.
In an email to board members, also provided to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Budget Director Julane Mullins alleges, "suspected violations of law and numerous acts of mismanagement, fraud, waste, and abuse of authority that have resulted in the current state of affairs."
A West Coast school's plan to stop investing in coal could cause a ripple effect among institutions of higher-education. An official at one Kentucky university says such an approach would be unlikely in the Commonwealth, for more than one reason.
Stanford University announced last week that it will divest its almost 19 billion dollar endowment of all coal mining interests. The University of Kentucky's Treasurer says it's not the
Credit James McNair/Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting
Michael McCall is the president of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System—and he's among the highest-paid community college administrators in the U.S.
And he'll still earn six-figures after he retires in January.
In its latest story, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting found that KCTCS has agreed to pay McCall $324,321 for a year after he leaves his job. As president emeritus, he'll be expected to perform duties at the request of the next KCTCS president.
The University of Kentucky's tree canopy will grow by more than 400 plantings soon. Additional elm, oak, locust, and tulip trees will be planted over the next year. UK Vice President for Facilities Management Bob Wiseman says recent construction on the Lexington campus has resulted in the need to replace them.
The University of Kentucky plans to relax it’s on- campus alcohol policy for students of legal drinking age. The specifics of how the alcohol consumption policy will change are still to be worked out. The announcement came from UK President Eli Capilouto. He took recommendations from a student health and safety workgroup.
Former Northern Kentucky University athletic director Scott Eaton has pleaded guilty to stealing more than 311-thousand dollars from the school. State attorney general Jack Conway says Eaton entered his plea Thursday in Campbell County Circuit Court. He will serve the maximum term of ten years in prison.
The University of Kentucky's incoming student government president expects security issues to get top priority during his term. Mechanical Engineering student Jacob Ingram, who takes over the top student body post in mid April, says student safety off campus needs to improve.
"The big concern that I've heard this year throughout my time in student government has been about off campus safety, so how can we extend the safety protection, the feeling of being safe from campus out to where students are living," says Ingram.
The University of Kentucky's consideration of a public-private partnership for dining services got attention from two fronts during Monday's meeting.
The UK Board of Trustees meeting began with a student protest. The protesters asked the board to reject any and all proposals to privatize public dining services at the school. Their primary concern is with one potential vendor, the Sodexo Group. The students say Sodexo cited the Affordable Care Act as a reason to cut off full-time benefits for some of its employees at another school.