Senate sends two education bills to the House

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Before adjourning on Friday, the Kentucky Senate sent two bills to the House dealing with public education: one on school-based decision-making councils, and another on teacher tribunals.

Senate Bill 3 (SB3) would remove the power to hire school principals from the school-based decision-making council (SBDM) and transfer it to the local superintendent. The power to hire principals had been moved to SBDMs as part of the KY Education Reform Act in the early 1990s.

Superintendents and school boards have long wanted the change, while SBDM advocates have fought to keep the power local to the school.

The change does not affect the other responsibilities and controls the SBDMs have, such as deciding curriculum.

Senator Alice Forgy Kerr (R-Lexington) spoke against the bill, saying it was an attempt to begin dismantling KERA. “This bill is very regressive,” she said. Nevertheless, the bill passed 23-13.

Also passing 23-13 was a bill to change the makeup of teacher tribunals. When a teacher is terminated, they have the option of appealing their firing to a teacher tribunal. Senate Bill 8 would remove the layperson from the current makeup of the tribunal, and replace that person with a lawyer trained in labor law, who would serve as the hearing officer. The bill would also limit the tribunal to a yes-or-no vote, rather than allowing them to impose other measures than termination.

Both bills are now headed to the House.

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