February 7 2014

Published: 3/31/2014 11:46 AM


In this edition of Fast Five on Friday, you will find articles on the following:

• Grand Lodge of Kentucky Supporting Participation in Operation Preparation Again This Year (Attachments)
• Val-Ed 360° Spring Administration for PPGES; New Scheduling Option Offered
• Highlights from the Feb. 5 KBE Meeting
• Use of Kindergarten Readiness Data (Attachment)
• Kentucky Digital Learning Guidelines
• AP Exams and College Board Update
• One-Minute Survey on School Safety Topics Districts Would Find Useful
• Results from Interactive Survey Administered During the January 27 Superintendents’ Webcast (Attachment)
• Superintendents’ Spotlight Featuring Jonathan Jett, Perry County
• Commissioner’s Blog
• Legislative Update, Week of February 3, 2014 (Attachments)


Fast Five on Friday
(Eleven this Week)
 
Grand Lodge of Kentucky Supporting Participation in Operation Preparation Again This Year (Attachments) – As we previously shared in Monday E-mail, Operation Preparation 2014 is again being supported by The Grand Lodge of Kentucky as one of the statewide partners whose members will be volunteering as advisors in local schools. A request to supply manpower to support this initiative is being disseminated by the Grand Lodge to Masonic Lodges under its jurisdiction. Masons who are interested in volunteering their time are being directed to contact their local high school and middle school principals and guidance counselors for further instructions. This effort fits under an umbrella program of the Grand Lodge entitled Masonry Matters. Kentucky Masons who belong to the local Blue Lodges, the York Rite Bodies, the Scottish Rite Bodies, and the Shrine look forward to working with and supporting our schools as we help build a 21st Century workforce in the Commonwealth.
 
Attached to this e-mail are two letters from Cloyd J. Bumgardner, Board of Directors, Grand Lodge of Kentucky, one for local district superintendents, one for middle and high school principals. We ask that superintendents and middle and high school principals open up and read the appropriate letter.
 
Val-Ed 360° Spring Administration for PPGES; New Scheduling Option Offered – The second administration of Val-Ed 360° for the Principal Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PPGES) pilot is currently scheduled for March 2014. In order to provide more flexibility, March will remain as a recommendation, but districts will now have the option of scheduling Val-Ed 360° at a different time. The administration should be completed no later than May 15, 2014. This option is being offered to help accommodate districts’ schedules that are being impacted by the winter weather.
 
You will receive additional information from the Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA), our partner who has provided support and guidance with Val-Ed 360°. Look for this information no later than Feb. 14, 2014. For additional information you may contact Shirley LaFavers at shirley@kasa.org or Kevin Stull at kevin.stull@education.ky.gov.
 
Highlights from the Feb. 5 KBE Meeting – The Kentucky Board of Education met this week on Wednesday, February 5 with a busy agenda. One of the main highlights was the first reading of the new regulation on the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System, 704 KAR 3:370. The board provided input on the regulation and it will come back to them in April for approval. The draft regulation can be found here under Agenda Item XVIII. Between now and April, KDE staff will be revising the regulation to accommodate feedback that is received as well as making sure it meets the requirements in statute and in the ESEA waiver.
 
Other items included a report on the progress of Priority Schools, the naming of three new Districts of Innovation, an update on the World Language Program Review, approval of 702 KAR 3:300, School district lease and retirement incentive annuity agreements, and revisions to the Kentucky State Plan for FY15 for the Carl D. Perkins Career & Technical Education Act of 2006. 
 
The link to the webcast of the meeting can be found here. If you want to review the materials from the meeting, click here. Also, the press release summarizing the meeting can be found here
 
Use of Kindergarten Readiness Data  (Attachment) – As you are aware, I joined Governor Beshear in a press conference on January 30 to publicly announce the results from the 2013 kindergarten readiness screener. Results had previously been sent to districts.
 
I am emphasizing again that going forward the focus should on local school districts meeting with early childhood providers to review the results and identify ways to partner to improve the readiness levels across different early childhood programs. To assist you in this collaborative effort, KDE has developed a sheet providing guidance for superintendents on how to effectively use the K-Screener data in their schools and communities (attached).
 
Kentucky Digital Learning Guidelines – To make sure everyone is aware, I am again sharing that the Kentucky Department of Education Digital Learning team has designed the Kentucky Digital Learning Guidelines as guidance for schools, districts, and digital providers when selecting or creating developmentally appropriate digital learning resources for instruction, as well as online and blended learning courses in Kentucky schools. The digital guidelines can be accessed on the Digital Learning website. If you have questions on these contact Darlene Combs at darlene.combs@education.ky.gov.
 

AP Exams and College Board Update – While no decisions have yet been made regarding federal funding for AP Exam subsidies for low-income students, the College Board believes that due to ongoing federal budgetary constraints, the 2014 AP exam administration may cost low-income students approximately $20 per exam, up from $10 in 2013. As a result, we are concerned that this cost may deter some of your low-income students from taking AP Exams and potentially qualifying for college credit and placement they worked hard for and deserve. The following table shows the AP exam fee breakdown for low-income students.
____________________________________________________________________
Projected 2014 Low-Income Student AP Exam Fee Breakdown

Federal Contribution   $35*
College Board Contribution  $26*
Student Contribution  $20*
School Rebate (waived for low-income students) $8
Total Fee per Exam  $89
*Federal, College Board, and student contributions are estimates.
_____________________________________________________________________________
 
Our goal in providing you with this information now is to give you sufficient time to plan any local efforts to support these students. KDE will communicate final funding information once the final exam fee subsidies are determined by the U.S. Department of Education.
 
One-Minute Survey on School Safety Topics Districts Would Find Useful – The Kentucky Department of Education desires to be a resource to schools and districts in their efforts to ensure the day-to-day safety of their students and staff. One of the steps we are taking is to provide topic-specific informational sessions via webinars with opportunities for questions and answers. To make certain we are addressing your areas of concern regarding day-to-day school safety, we are asking that you take a one-minute survey to select topics of concern or interest to you.  In the meantime, if you have any questions, concerns, or ideas to better serve you, please contact the Division of Student Success at 502-564-4772.   

Please take the survey by clicking on this link:  Link to Survey.
Results from Interactive Survey Administered During the January 27 Superintendents’ Webcast (Attachment) Attached is a summary of the results from the interactive survey that was administered during the January 27 superintendents’ webcast. Thanks to all of you that participated in the survey. These informal surveys are very helpful in shaping KDE’s work on key topics.
 
Superintendents’ Spotlight Featuring Jonathan Jett, Perry County (Attached) – It is clear that instruction is the focus for the Perry County school district under the direction of Superintendent Jonathan Jett.
 
Recently, the district provided all students in grades 8-12 with a Windows 8 Surface tablet. New student-led Professional Learning Communities, guide all staff in effectively using the device as an instructional tool. Textbooks are downloaded as student resources and technology cadres are in the planning phases to bring like-content teachers together. Most of all, this initiative gives students the opportunity to compete in the 21st century.
 
In addition, the district is investing in its own leaders. Teacher leaders are selected to revise and enhance the curriculum, develop common assessments, and model best practices and high yield instructional strategies as part of a new Teacher Leadership Academy. A New Teacher Academy will provide support and coaching to all non-tenured staff.
 
A focus on continuous growth for all stakeholders is at the forefront. This is evident through the district’s five main goals:
• improve the graduation rate;
• increase college- and career-readiness (CCR);
• increase the number of proficient and distinguished ratings;
• close the gap on student assessment performance, and
• build capacity within all system participants.
 
The focus is how to do more for the students so that they achieve more -- either in college or in the workforce. Day-to-day improvements are tracked through CCR monitoring sheets and data analysis. This includes tracking and celebrating improvements in attendance as well as aligning all finances to provide the best resources for the students. Several schools also participate in the co-teaching model for Kentucky. This allows teachers to provide more support and intervention for students who may need it.
 
All stakeholders are part of the district’s growing success through community partner meetings, board of education sessions to share academic progress, and transparency of all working 30-60-90 day plans and strategic planning. Jett’s vision is to ensure student success, as measured by college- and career-readiness, by building and sustaining appropriate systems for continuous academic achievement and developing lifelong learners. The district is strongly committed to staying focused on student achievement and continuing to hold all accountable for providing the best education.
 
Commissioner’s Blog – This week’s blog is titled “Rethinking school discipline.”  It can be found at the following link:  http://kyedcommissioner.blogspot.com/2014/02/rethinking-school-discipline.html.
 
Legislative Update, Week of February 3, 2014 – Below is this week’s legislative update. Contact Tracy Herman, KDE Legislative Liaison, at tracy.herman@education.ky.gov or call (502) 564-4474, ext. 4815.
Budget Bill
HB 235 is the budget bill. The entire executive branch budget proposal can be found on the State Budget Director’s website:
http://www.osbd.ky.gov/.
 
The Governor’s Tax Reform Plan
Governor Beshear released his tax reform plan this week. Attached are three documents, Ky Competes 2-4-14; Fiscal Impact 2-4-14; Sales Tax on Limited Services; that provide additional information released at the press conference. Some of the highlights from his presentation include:
 
Changes to the Tax Code:
• Reduces individual income tax rates. When coupled with existing Family-Sized Tax Credit, the proposed Earned Income Tax Credit, and the new Hold Harmless credit, every working Kentuckian will benefit from this rate change proposal.
• Enacts a Refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) at 7.5 percent of the federal credit. This tax credit is targeted to low-wage earners, and research shows the EITC will be reinvested in local communities, which stimulates the economy.
• Lowers the top corporation income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.9 percent.
• Phases-in ‘single factor apportionment’ solely on sales for corporation income tax.
• Creates an angel investor tax credit.
• Expands the state’s Research and Development tax credit to human capital.
• Doubles the New Markets Tax Credit.
• Exempts inventory from state property tax.
• Eliminates selected negligible state property tax rates for tangible personal property.
 
Provisions for Kentucky’s Signature Industries:
• Creates an income tax credit for the bourbon industry.
• Exempts sales and use tax on certain equine products, similar to other livestock.
• Exempts sales tax on pharmaceuticals for food animals.
• Lowers wholesale tax on beer, wine and distilled spirits.
• Repeals the distilled spirits case sales tax.
 
Tobacco Taxes:
• Increases tax on cigarettes to $1.
• Increases tax rate on other tobacco products commensurate with cigarette rate increase.
• Creates tax on e-cigarettes at 20 percent of value.
• Restores cigarette rolling papers tax.
 
Sales Tax Changes:
• Broadens the sales tax to include selected services. Kentucky long ago moved from a goods-based economy to a services-based economy, but the tax code has not adapted to this transition. This proposal expands the sales tax to the labor associated with installation and repair of taxable goods, certain recreational activities, and certain commercial, residential and personal services. Additional information is attached.
• Clarifies that the sales tax is applicable to all prewritten software, regardless of delivery method. This addresses new challenges for the sales tax created by sales on the digital cloud.
• Applies sales tax and transient room taxes to the entire hotel accommodation price. This modernization proposal clarifies that all amounts paid for staying in a Kentucky hotel or similar accommodation, including amounts charged or retained by online travel companies, are included in the tax base for the sales tax and state and local transient room taxes.
 
Modernizes Code to Acknowledge Changing Demographics, Differences with Other States:
• Reduces retirement income exclusion for taxpayers with a federal AGI of more than $80,000; phases it out for AGI over $100,000. This proposal still keeps Kentucky’s tax code among the friendliest for retirees. Social Security benefits are currently not taxable in Kentucky and would not become taxable under this proposal.
• Phases out $10 Individual Income Tax Credit.
• Requires same income tax filing status for married couples at state level as federal level.
 
House Budget Review Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education
The BR Subcommittee will meet on Wednesdays at Noon in the Capitol Annex, Room 111.
The Subcommittee took its first look at the Governor’s proposed budget for K-12 education this week. Dr. Holliday and Associate Commissioner Hiren Desai provided an overview and fielded questions from committee members.  The presentation is attached
 
House Education Committee
The House Education Committee will meet on Tuesday at 8:00 a.m. in the Capitol Annex, Room 129.
 
HB 2 (Rep. Stumbo) establishes the Kentucky Coal County College Completion Program to include the Kentucky Coal County College Completion Scholarship and the Kentucky Coal County College Completion Student Services Grant. The bill creates the Kentucky Coal County District to include coal-producing counties and directs the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority to administer the program. 
 
HB 75 (Rep. Graham) expands the number of components within the superintendent's training program and assessment center. The bill requires a superintendent to complete the assessment center process within two years of taking office as superintendent. The bill also requires the Kentucky Board of Education to adopt administrative regulations to govern the criteria for successful completion of the training requirements.
 
HB 77 (Rep. Nelson) requires the Department of Education to develop a financial literacy program. Starting with the 2015-2016 school year, the bill would require students to receive instruction in financial literacy prior to high school graduation.
 
HB 223 (Rep. Glenn) creates the Kentucky Financial Literacy Commission and establishes membership for a board of directors. The commission will be attached to the Department of the Treasury. The bill also establishes a financial literacy fund which is meant to cover the costs of the commission.
 
Senate Education Committee
The Senate Education Committee will meet on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. in the Capitol Annex, Room 171.
 
SB 89 (Sen. Higdon) directs the Kentucky Board of Education to require that the Department of Education and all school districts adhere to transparency and privacy standards with regards to vendors. It also adds language to reemphasize that a school council may supplement the state board-approved academic content standards with higher and more rigorous standards and use them for curricular and instructional purposes.
 
Next Week
Agendas have not been released for next week. 
 
Please check the LRC website for updated daily calendars: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/legislative_calendar/index.aspx.
 
Also, for the most up to date information on committee membership, please go to the LRC’s main page: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/home.htm.
 
If you have questions on any of the articles included in this edition of Fast Five, please contact me at the e-mail address or phone number found below.
 
Terry Holliday, Ph.D.
Commissioner of Education
Kentucky Department of Education
Office 502-564-3141
Fax 502-564-5680
E-mail Terry.Holliday@education.ky.gov
Twitter @kycommissioner
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/kydeptofed