Call to Order and Roll Call
The3rd meeting of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue was held on Thursday, September 22, 2011, at 10:00 AM, in Room 154 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Derrick Graham, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Jared Carpenter, Co-Chair; Representatives Julie Raque Adams, Jim DeCesare, Kelly Flood, Jim Glenn, Melvin B. Henley, Reginald Meeks, Rick Rand, Jody Richards, Carl Rollins II, and Rita Smart.
Guests: Hiren Desai, Associate Commissioner, Office of Administration and Support, Kentucky Department of Education, Kay Kennedy, Director, Division of Support, Kentucky Department of Education, and David Couch, Associate Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Education.
Chairman Graham requested a motion to approve the minutes of the July 28, 2011 meeting. A motion was made and the minutes were approved without objection.
Financial Condition of Local School Districts
In response to a question asked by Representative Carney, Mr.Desai stated that Edujobs funds are used to provide salaries and benefits to staff in each district.
In response to a question asked by Representative Smart, Mr. Desai stated that a district has until September 30, 2012 to use all Edujobs funds. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) would like to ensure that all the funds are put to use and not returned.
In response to a question asked by Representative Meeks, Ms. Kennedy said that before the audit on November 15th all districts that have negative financial reports will be corrected. Representative Meeks asked that staff provide a comparison, between the financial status and the academic success of the top ten and the bottom ten districts.
In response to a question asked by Representative Miller, Mr. Desai said that typically federal funds cannot be used for locally funded items, but Edujobs can be used to pay for salaries at the local level without penalty. Mr. Desai added that districts are being cautious because of the threat of a SEEK shortfall and possible cuts to the federal budget if a consensus is not reached.
In response to a question asked by Representative DeCesare, Mr. Desai said that KDE is meeting with the economic forecasting staff quarterly to refine projections and get more accurate numbers for the budget. Mr. Desai added that the SEEK formula is very complicated, but it has worked for twenty years. However, initial discussions have taken place about possibly finding another way to get more accurate figures for the budget.
In response to a question asked by Representative Nelson, Mr. Desai said that districts are wising up to the SEEK formula and substituting low attendance days for high attendance days. Ms. Kennedy added that there is a lot of paperwork that goes into the attendance day substitutions explaining why some districts choose not to do so.
In response to a question asked by Representative Rollins, Mr. Desai said that historically SEEK was based on attendance versus membership because it gave schools incentive to encourage students to be in the classroom. He added that as the state moves towards a virtual classroom model, districts are not requiring that there be more students in the classroom. Mr. Desai stated that KDE is not advocating a switch from attendance to membership when calculating SEEK but discussions of change are happening.
In response to a question asked by Representative Richards, Mr. Desai said that a pool can be established for districts that will have a budget shortfall.
In response to a question asked by Chairman Graham, Mr. Desai said that historically SEEK is paid based on a forecasted amount. He stated that current discussions will have KDE giving final SEEK in December instead of March and there will be no allocation for October.
Representative DeCesare stated that he filed HB411 last year that would establish a pool of money funded by previous excess SEEK funds so when shortfalls occur that money could be used to fill in the gaps.
In response to a question asked by Representative Miller, Ms. Kennedy said that no schools have been turned down for Capital Funds Request but KDE may point districts in a different direction for needed funds.
In response to a question asked by Chairman Graham, Ms. Kennedy said that utilizing Capital Funds request process has allowed districts more flexibility in managing their finances. She added that this process is intended to be used by struggling districts and that the intention of this process has been met.
In response to a question by Representative Carney, Mr. Desai said that 8 percent of funding comes from federal funding. He added that Kentucky received roughly $3.8 billion in state funding, $848 million in federal funding. Chairman Graham added that the breakdown is usually 65 percent state funding, 25 percent local funding, and 10 percent federal funding.
Status Report/ Review of the Classification of Primary and Secondary School Buildings
In response to a question asked by Chairman Graham, Mr. Desai said that the board will meet in October to give KDE final directions for the agency budget request. It is anticipated that the department will ask for funding to categorize category 1 and 2 buildings.
Education Technology in Elementary and Secondary Schools
In response to a question asked by Representative Flood, Mr. Couch said that there is a need to restore funding for schools to go to a wireless network. He added that the cost savings is getting rid of servers with the move to Cloud based computing.
Representative Richards stated that for years he has sponsored a resolution to try and get a group together to come up with a way to get a computer into the hands of every 5th and 6th grader.
In response to a question from Representative Richards, Mr. Couch said that Kentucky is the national leader in providing equity of access. He added that Ipads are the next textbook. Mr. Couch stated that there are significant cost savings in going totally technological in the classroom. Mr. Couch said funding for professional development in technology is essential.
In response to a question asked by Representative Miller, Mr. Couch said that parents will most of the time be responsible for an insurance policy on the mobile devices. However, students for the most part take good care of the devices. He added that most devices can be ruggedized with otter boxes.
Representative Henley stated that Representative Richards’s task force has become almost imperative due to the rapid movement of technology. In response to a question asked by Representative Henley, Mr. Couch said that not enough pressure is being brought to publishing companies of textbooks for a complete move to an electronic world. He added that as more pressure is brought upon these companies the devices will move towards being not only an end device but a content delivery device as well, which becomes much more affordable. Mr. Couch stated that in 2008 only 20 percent of parents were for electronic textbooks and as of 2010 70 percent of parents agreed that electronic textbooks were the way to go.
In response to a question asked by Representative Miller, Mr. Couch said that he has already seen demonstrations on virtual light keyboards so it will not be long before they are easily accessible.
In response to a question asked by Representative Smart, Mr. Couch said that the districts determine themselves whether or not to more heavily rely on technology in instruction.
In response to a question asked by Representative Smart, Mr. Couch stated that editing improves when using a mobile device but clearly cursive writing will suffer.
Representative Carney stated that the money needs to go to electronic textbooks, anything else is a waste. He stated that it was imperative that Kentucky use its resources to keep up with technology so that the state does not lag behind.
Chairman Graham stated that this year in Franklin County, for the first time, students are allowed to submit home work via mobile devices. He added that there has been an improvement in students who otherwise struggle in the classroom since this new rule was implemented.
Representative Henley stated that this country is moving towards a have and have not society very rapidly. He stated that is essential for Kentucky students to master technology if they are to be part of the haves.
There being no further business before the subcommittee, the meeting was adjourned at 11:51 a.m.