When the current Kentucky legislative session ends this week, many issues will be left on the table for future years. One of those issues is charter schools. Kentucky is among nine states without charters, and the push to change that has been polarizing in Frankfort. A compromise to create a pilot charter project was close to passage last month, but it fell apart.
Two fraternities at Murray State University will face hearings within the next few weeks before the university’s Interfraternal Council Judicial Board to determine what sanctions the organizations might face for incidents that occurred at parties earlier this month. The MSU chapters of both Alpha Tau Omega and Alpha Gamma Rho remain on suspension from hosting social activities, said Mike Young, assistant vice president of student affairs.
Some one thousand Eastern Kentucky University employees and another four thousand students are being asked this week about their views on a possible ban on tobacco use. A draft plan would prohibit the use of tobacco products on all E-K-U campuses. Then, next fall, Wellness Analyst Leanna Bowles says there’ll be a 30 day comment period.
A spokesman for University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto says the school is disappointed with some aspects of the final budget compromise worked out by the legislative conference committee. Jay Blanton says the administration was already bracing for a significant cut in state support, but conferees delivered a double whammy when they refused to allow the state’s flagship university to increase its debt capacity an additional $200 million dollars for campus construction.
A scholarship program intended to serve college students in far eastern Kentucky has been expanded. What was originally called the Appalachian Scholarship Fund has been expanded to all coal-producing counties in Kentucky, including those in the western portion of the state. The program applies to students in the last two years of their education who attend a university, public or private, in a coal-producing county.
Kumble Subbaswamy, who has served as the provost of the University of Kentucky since 2006 is leaving to accept the Chancellorship at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; the school announced Monday. Subbaswamy was one of four finalists for the position. In a release the Amherst Board of Trustees, describes Dr. Subbaswamy as "a proven academic leader who will guide the Amherst campus to new heights...he has the experience, vision, intellect and drive to move the flagship campus forward."
University of Kentucky Provost Kumble Subbaswamy is heading to New England. He has accepted a job as Chancellor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Subbaswamy has served as provost at UK since 2006.
A proposal to create a scholarship fund for far eastern Kentucky college students could be in jeopardy. The Appalachian scholarship fund was intended as a compromise, after a measure to move the University of Pikeville into the state system couldn’t garner enough support. In the House’s version of the budget, lawmakers funded the scholarships with coal severance tax money.
Schools across the Commonwealth found out Friday whether they were selected for Gear Up grants. Gear Up is an acronym for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. Jennifer Kendall, principal of Leestown Middle, the only school in Fayette County to receive a Gear Up grant, says the money enable schools to get a quick handle on how students might perform in a college setting.
On Bill’s Eye, I haven’t written about the KET program Education Matters. We’ve been taping the monthly educational series since 2010, and it has covered a variety of subjects facing Kentucky schools, parents, educators, and children. Some of those subjects have been serving the state’s adult learners, technology for next generation learning, and arts in Kentucky education.
Midway College will soon be looking for another president. After 10 years at the helm, Dr. William B. Drake has submitted his resignation to the Board of Trustees. “I feel very much that my work is completed here at Midway College. Our enrollment is up nearly 20% this year; we were up 14% last year. We’ve hit all of our targets. So I feel really a sense of completion at this point", said Drake.
Two important education and workforce-credential tests will be free to eligible Kentuckians on a first-come, first-served basis through June 30 or until funds are expended. The GED tests and assessments to earn a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) are sponsored by Kentucky Adult Education, a unit of the Council on Postsecondary Education, and the Department of Workforce Investment, an agency of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.
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 and Greg Kocher, Lexington Herald-Leader
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear talked with West Liberty Elementary School kindergartners on Monday in their new temporary classroom, located in a former warehouse.
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.
Trang Nguyen (left) and Juana Ortega, third-graders at River Ridge Elementary School, share a laugh during English Language Learners class. The class is for students who are not native speakers of English.
Credit Patrick Reddy/The Kentucky Enquirer
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.
State Rep. Addia Wuchner talks with Jim Votruba, president of Northern Kentucky University, outside the House chamber at the Capitol Building, Frankfort.
Credit Patrick Reddy/The Kentucky Enquirer
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 half-dozen university and college presidents who's signatures created the Bluegrass Higher Education Consortium.
Credit Charles Compton / WEKU News
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.