Master Plan Governance
The Master Plan for Education Technology
With the beginning of the Kentucky Education Technology Systems (KETS) program, KRS 156.666 established the Council for Education Technology as an advisory group to the Kentucky Board of Education. This council was responsible for providing guidance on the development of the Master Plan for Education Technology. Over time, the responsibility for guidance and development of the Master Plan has been transitioned to the Office of Education Technology within the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE).
KDE's responsibility was further codified with KRS 42.746, a 2015 renumbering of KRS 11.507, clarified that technology services to local school districts falls completely under the Kentucky Department of Education. The services include but are not limited to developing, implementing, and maintaining the direction, standards, and architecture of the K-12 focused technology infrastructure.
Approval and Update of the Master Plan
The Kentucky Board of Education and the Legislative Research Commission shared initial approval authority for the Master Plan pursuant to KRS 156.670(1).
KRS 156.670(7) places responsibility for updating the plan, as necessary, with the council and the board. Updates are to be reported to the Legislative Research Commission.
KRS 156.160(1) stipulates that the Kentucky Board of Education has a statutory mandate to prescribe standards, which school districts shall meet. Among these are standards for the "acquisition and use of educational equipment for the schools as recommended by the Council for Education Technology" (KRS 156.160(1)(c).
KRS 156.670(3) states that the Master Plan shall "establish and implement a uniform and integrated system of standards and guidelines for financial accounting and reporting which shall be used by all school districts."
KRS 156.670(4) requires that the education technology system provide "comprehensive, current, accurate, and accessible information relating to management, finance, operations, instruction, and pupil programs which are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education." The chief state school officer must certify these data to support administration of the Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) fund, which provides funding to support the public school system in accordance with KRS 157.330. The guaranteed base funding level for each district is computed based on the prior year's average daily attendance (KRS 157.360(1)), which is calculated based on data collected within the school and accumulated at the district level. To support this funding process, the Kentucky Board of Education has the obligation and authority to establish standards for administrative systems at the district and school level, including, but not limited to, uniform codes, processes and software systems. The statutes do not restrict the standards-setting responsibilities noted above to any particular source of funds. The Kentucky Board of Education, therefore, has the authority and obligation to specify standards for education technology to which school district acquisitions of hardware and software are subject regardless of source of funds. The board may specify, as it deems necessary, a standard for any line item in the Master Plan budget.
These standards are set forth in the Master Plan for Education Technology and incorporated by reference into Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KARs) pursuant to 701 KAR 5:110 and in compliance with KRS 156.160(1).
Districts are required by 701 KAR 5:110 to procure only those technologies that meet KETS standards, if a standard for that category has been established, regardless of source of funds.
Education Technology Trust Fund
The Education Technology Trust Fund is established in the Finance and Administration Cabinet by KRS 157.665(1) to provide education technology for the public school system.
Funds are appropriated to the trust fund in each biennial budget. All interest earned on money in the fund is retained for reinvestment in the fund. All money credited to the fund, including interest, is to be used for education technology as defined by the Kentucky Board of Education's Master Plan and does not lapse (KRS 157.665(2)).
The School Facilities Construction Commission, within the Finance and Administration Cabinet, is responsible for distributing state funds to local districts through the education technology funding program (KRS 157.650).
To participate in the education technology funding program, a local public school district must have a technology need described in the district plan and approved by the Kentucky Board of Education (KRS 157.655(3)).
The base level of assistance to each district is determined by dividing the total amount available in the trust fund by the total of the prior year's average daily attendance of the eligible districts times the individual district's prior year's average daily attendance (KRS 157.660(1)).
Funds transferred to each district are to be used only for the projects included in the district's plan (KRS 157.660(2)).
Trust funds are transferred to a local district after the School Facilities Construction Commission certifies the district's need for assistance. All other expenditures from the fund require the approval of the Kentucky Board of Education (KRS 157.655(3)).
Calculation of Technology Need
Any technology procured or secured by a district, in a category for which a KETS technology need standard is established, regardless of whether the item is used to reduce the technology need or not, must meet or exceed the KETS standard in compliance with 701 KAR 5:110.
Approval of the technology need amounts for local school districts is the first step required to allow local school districts to receive state funding to assist them in funding hardware, software, personnel, professional development and other technology initiatives that will support students in achieving academic excellence.
Staff certify that districts recommended by the Commissioner of Education have met all the statutory requirements of KRS 157.655 and KRS 157.660 required to adequately describe their technology need and current KETS inventory before Offers of Assistance are distributed.
The following must occur before a district receives its funding:
- Kentucky Board of Education approves technology need for districts.
- School Facilities Construction Commission (SFCC) approves technology need.
- The district successfully meets all of the statutory requirements of KRS 157.655 and KRS 157.660.
- The district verifies its final ADA count to KDE's Division of School Finance.
- KETS staff calculates Offers of Assistance based on these variables.
The districts must follow requirements of the SFCC by receiving approved board action and proof of deposit of funds into a local interest bearing technology account. The SFCC will then wire funds to the district's technology account.
There are four categories of technology need:
- incremental replacement
- new technologies
Expenditures in operations and maintenance are necessary to sustain current levels of service. If technology need within the operations and maintenance categories is not addressed in accordance with program guidelines, the integrity, sufficiency and capacity of the district technology infrastructure will degrade until services are seriously curtailed or eliminated. These include items such as student workstation repair, teacher workstation repair, instructional software improvements, classroom printer repair, instructional file server repair, school management software improvements, initial/ongoing technology integration, professional development, student technology leadership services, Internet services, telephone communications to parents, distance learning service, help desk services, email services, enterprise data system access and school financial management services.
The technology need for incremental replacement constitutes a framework for replacement of various technology components on a scheduled basis over time, in accordance with the life
cycle of each item or service. These include items such as student instructional devices, teacher instructional devices, instructional servers, assistive and adaptive technology, school laser printers, classroom color printers, wireless networks, student handheld devices, and high-speed fiber networks.
The technology need for new technologies includes products and services that are more discretionary in nature--products and services that are today only marginally available or affordable and products and services that are perceived as needs in the planning horizon.
The Kentucky Board of Education will acknowledge and approve the technology need for each district. In the KETS Expenditure Plan, the board will also be considering approval of the amount of funds available to go toward that technology need. Districts must continue to secure alternative funding sources beyond the KETS funds, using federal funds, local grants or other source, to fully fund the technology need. Budgeting skills will be required to sustain and implement KETS.
Additional KETS Regulatory Information
In 2006, the Kentucky General Assembly passed House Bill 341, which mandated KDE to conduct a study of the requirements for data security and a notification process when a data breach occurs. Since that legislation, the threat and occurrence of data breaches has only increased.
While the House Bill 341 study remains an effective cornerstone of guidance for data security, new bills (KRS 61.931, et seq. or "House Bill 5" and KRS 365.734 or "House Bill 232") went into effect in 2015 and added clarity, definition, and direction.
KRS 61.932 protects personal information in three very important ways:
- Requires the safety and security of personal information held by state agencies, including the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), public school districts, colleges and universities AS WELL AS any entity/vendor/organization with which they have a contract,
- Requires notification of specific state agencies and victims of a data breach, and
- Sets up some basic time limitations and procedures that MUST be followed in the event of a data breach involving personal information.
KRS 365.734 specifically protects student data by limiting what a cloud service provider can do with student data and by requiring cloud computing service providers that have contracted with Kentucky public schools and districts to maintain security of student data.
In conjunction with these two state laws, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) promulgated 702 KAR 1:170. This KAR requires the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and school districts to annually acknowledge to their respective boards, by August 31 of each year, that they have reviewed guidance from the Data Security and Breach Notification Best Practice Guide, [Appendix
A] and implemented appropriate security for each data system for which they are responsible or provide reasons why safeguards have not been put in place, such as lack of resources.