Kentucky General Assembly house bills were evaluated by Dr. Sally Sugg at the March 9 regular SCPS Board of Education meeting, and a few are worrying the district.
Dr. Sugg and the board are watching Kentucky House Bills 319, 50 and 5 as the state General Assembly races to a close within the week. “Usually when all the activity really heats up.
House Bill 319 is an attempt to sustain the teaching profession after educators submitted a report recommending action to keep teachers in the profession, but the bill has been amended and taken out some key pieces, Sugg said. “One of the things that was taken out was the Council on Post-Secondary Education was asked to develop a marketing plan to promote the teaching profession. They took that out.”
Also cut was the suggestion to expand the Kentucky Department of Education Go Teach Kentucky recruitment plan.
“These developments, in my opinion, don’t instill confidence that the Kentucky General Assembly is taking the teacher shortage, this crisis, seriously,” the superintendent said.
House Bill 50 would require all local school board members and currently city government officials to all run as a partisan election. Currently in Shelby County, city council and commission elections, mayoral and other races are nonpartisan.
“Groups representing city governments had voiced very strong oppositions to the legislation,” plus other groups.
Two weeks ago, the bill was assigned to the house elections, constitutional limited and interventional affairs committees. “That indicates that legislators are planning to move on that bill and it’s been picking up a lot of momentum within the caucus and could be amended to apply only to school boards and not to cities,” she said. “I fully condemn this bill. We have no place, in my opinion in education to place politics, especially at the board level.”
The issues, she said that school boards deal with are local issues. “If we inject Republican and Democrat in the school board I think that would be very bad for education in general.”
“House Bill 5 would give the bourbon industry, which already has huge tax breaks. Another tax break that would repeal the property tax on bourbon storage and would cost us (SCPS) $900,000 per year to our recurring budget.”
Sugg said this move will also impact fire departments, libraries and other local services.
The bill was filed several weeks ago but has not been heard in committee “due to lack of support,” Sugg said.
The superintendent said to watch this bill because its provisions may show up in another “shell” bills at the end of the session. Sugg likened a shell bill to the sewer bill.
The board also,
• Heard from parents, students, teachers and supporters of skateboarding, which the board has failed to accept as a club due to liability issues. An issue arose when the skateboarding club practiced in hallways.
• Approved an amended school calendar for 2022-2023.
• Recognized students and staff.
• Approved the job title of Grant Coordinator.
• Approved consent items.