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Comment KY law, Site Based Council Powers & School Boards

Community is one built on wonderful principles that are the basis of our rural agricultural community, writer says.

By Shamarie Claiborne
Personal commentary

I have heard many people over the years say knowledge is power but they leave out the fact that understanding that knowledge creates wisdom. Life is never as simple as it seems and the issues our school system has been battling lately can be used as prime examples. The top issues have included our beloved FFA program, transportation woes, and our new school, but these issues are not what they look like on the surface.

First and foremost folks should know that if the Adair County High School Site Base Committee were going to totally eliminate the Future Farmers of America Program at the Adair County High School I would be right there standing arm in arm with my neighbors to stop it from happening.

The program is one built on wonderful principles that are the basis of our rural community. But as an unemployed teacher I can say better than anyone how proud I am of our site base for finding a way to meet state standards without anyone losing their job. This issue is not as simple as it seems, due to the fact that people don't understand how schools function. The State of Kentucky mandates what must be included in a school's curriculum. Not the local board of education. All local boards of education in the State of Kentucky have limited "power" in the areas of curriculum and hiring. They can only hire a superintendent when there is a vacancy but then there is a committee created that helps them which is made up of staff from the district and parents. And the other time a board of education can have influence over curriculum or hiring in a particular school is when they set the student to teacher ratio for the district. Otherwise they deal with procedure only. There are strict KRS (Kentucky Revised Statute) laws that govern their limited abilities in this area. (To be exact KRS 160.290 is one of the statutes that governs the boards' powers )

The truth is each site base within a each district makes all hiring decisions for their building and the group is led by the principal of that school. So for instance in my case I taught technology and when budget cuts came and they looked at how to cut three positions my school's site base looked at the following: who did not have tenure, who was retiring, and what programs were not state mandated. I ticked two of the three boxes in that I did not have tenure and technology is not state tested or required. (The importance of technology will have to be a whole different article.) Again, kudos to Mr. Young and our site base: for finding a way to not only meet state standards without anyone losing their job but being innovative enough to be blessing someone with a position that is state mandated. They also helped the school create classes that are manageable for all staff. (And no ladies and gentleman it was not me. I am not certified and that is a whole different can of worms in the realm of education. ) (KRS 160.345 is the statute that governs site base )

Our next simple but not so simple topic is the rising cost of our transportation. It is mandated by the State of Kentucky that children must be transported by bus to school functions. So as simple as we want to make it sometimes - we will never be allowed to load our kids in our cars to go to school functions such as academic team meets, band contests, football games, or cheerleading competitions. Yes that would be the simple answer but government does not allow things to ever be simple. I understand the reasons why and if we all slow down and step away from the issue for a moment ---we all do. Can we afford the consequences if there is an accident? There would be sanctions from the state as well as an insurance nightmare. So with gas prices rising it is only logical that transportation cost have to go up as well.

Now we will look at the simplest but most complicated issue of them all which is the new school. I am sure you all remember the bickering and fussing that went on when the new school first was discussed. What people don't understand is that: 1) the state has classified Col. Wm. Casey as a 5 school which means it has to be replaced. No if's no and's or butts - They will not give money to repair only to replace it. Again, ONLY TO REPLACE it.

All of the above issues have complicated and specific KRS (Kentucky Revised Statues) which govern them. So people should understand the consequences for the school system or individuals involved when they do not follow these specific KRS laws in connection to a school system and how it is run. These can include but are not limited to financial penalties, removal from positions, state takeover, and/or incarceration. For more information about these issues and others please ask questions and/or research as much as you can. (Link to complete KRS governing our school system )

Don't just take the knowledge given to you as truth but search for the understanding that will give you wisdom. Please continue to be active in our schools for the sake of our communities' future which is and has always been, in the hands of our children. - Shamarie Claiborne

Handy little "pocket-guide" right here:

This story was posted on 2012-09-24 17:07:33
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