LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Jefferson County Board of Education will soon finalize the district’s legislative agenda for the 2022 budget session that begins in January.
Items on education funding and COVID-19 flexibility comprise most of the draft legislative agenda for Jefferson County Public Schools presented Tuesday during a special board meeting.
“A large part of this session will obviously be around the budget and the budget for the next two years, and without a doubt, we’ve said it many times, we’ll continue to say this: JCPS supports legislation that would adequately fund the public education system,” Superintendent Marty Pollio said while presenting the district’s draft legislative agenda.
Items related to funding on the district’s proposed legislative agenda are:
- Creating “a consistent rate increase” for per-pupil state spending so districts can better prepare for capital expenditures, staff pay raises, employment patterns and programming
- Full funding for school transportation
- Continuing to fund all-day kindergarten
- Investing in universal preschool
- Full funding for Learning and Results Services programs like textbooks and professional development
- Providing adequate funding for state agency schools
- Full funding for Kentucky Teacher Internship Program, Teacher Academies, Teacher Recruitment and Retention program, Leadership and Mentor Fund, and Teacher’s Professional Growth programs
- Fully funding actuarially required contributions to employee retirement plans and retiree health insurance programs in the Kentucky Teachers Retirement System and County Employees Retirement System
- Increasing funding for National Board Certified Teacher stipends, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate test fees for students who qualify for free- and reduced-price meals, and Gifted and Talented programs
- Give school districts more flexibility to generate revenue, such as a single non-recallable nickel tax
COVID-19 items on the JCPS draft legislative agenda include:
- Giving school districts 20 remote or hybrid instruction days per school
- Giving schools 10 additional nontraditional instruction dates only for COVID-19 reasons
- Allowing school staff to report from their home offices
- Opposing measures to overturn local decision-making authority on COVID-19 mitigation efforts
- Extending flexibility previously granted by the legislature during this year’s special session through at least June 30, 2022, such as allowing districts to use past attendance data to calculate state per-pupil spending, allowing classified staff to handle instructional duties and allowing districts to adjust school calendars and schedules as long as they provide 1,062 instructional hours
Other items on the draft legislative agenda for 2022 include:
- Opposing legislation that bans or limits teaching of historically accurate facts and infringes on students’ First Amendment rights
- Supporting bills to ensure membership of superintendent screening committee generally represent the racial and ethnic composition of the districts’ student bodies and include at least one student
- Supporting bills to work toward increasing culturally relevant curricula in schools and providing for quality implicit bias training for school staff
A final version of the JCPS legislative agenda will be brought to the board for its approval at a later meeting.
Pollio also announced Tuesday that Chuck Truesdell, director of government relations for the Kentucky Department of Education, will take over as the district’s new head of government and community relations for Abby Piper, who recently left JCPS to launch a government and public relations firm with her husband.
The Kentucky General Assembly begins the 2022 legislative session on Jan. 4.
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