Thefourth meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, September 10, 2007, at 1:00 PM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Ken Winters, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Ken Winters, Co-Chair; Representative Frank Rasche, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr., Charlie Borders, Brett Guthrie, Alice Forgy Kerr, Vernie McGaha, Gerald A. Neal, R. J. Palmer II, Tim Shaughnessy, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Larry Belcher, Mike Cherry, Hubert Collins, Leslie Combs, Jim DeCesare, Milward Dedman Jr., Jon Draud, Ted Edmonds, C. B. Embry Jr., Bill Farmer, Jim Glenn, Jeff Greer, Mary Lou Marzian, Harry Moberly Jr., Russ Mobley, Marie Rader, Tom Riner, Carl Rollins II, Charles Siler, Dottie Sims, David Watkins, and Ron Weston.
Guests: Mr. Kevin Brown, Kentucky Department of Education; Ms. Becky Gilpatrick and Ms. Melissa Justice, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority; Mr. Wayne Young and Mr. Clyde Caudill, Kentucky Association of School Administrators, and Ms. Brigid DeVries and Mr. Julian Tackett, Kentucky High School Athletics Association.
LRC Staff: Audrey Carr, Sandy Deaton, Jonathan Lowe, Janet Stevens, and Lisa Moore.
Senator Winters introduced Senator Boswell and some special guests from the Democratic Republic of Congo. These visitors were invited to the United States under the auspices of the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program. Their program is arranged by the Graduate School, USDA. The guests included: The Honorable Ann Mayasilwa, DIANZENZA, Legislator, National Assembly; The Honorable Justin Mwana-Ngongo, KALUMBA, Legislator, National Assembly; The Honorable Yves Bisika Lisasi, KISOMBE, Legislator, National Assembly; The Honorable Marie Louise Ekpolo, LENTI, Legislator, National Assembly; The Honorable Claudel Andre, LUBAYA, Legislator, National Assembly; The Honorable Adele Kayinda, MAHINA, Legislator, National Assembly; The Honorable Juliette Mughole, MBAMBU, Legislator, National Assembly; The Honorable Albert Fabrice, PUELA, Legislator, National Assembly; The Honorable Delly Hipungu Dja Kaseng, SESANGA, Legislator, National Assembly.
Senator Winters asked for a motion to approve the minutes from the August 13, 2007 meeting and Representative Belcher made the motion to approve, seconded by Representative Rasche. The motion was approved by voice vote.
Senator Winters asked Representative Edmonds to give a report from the Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education. Representative Edmonds said the subcommittee heard a discussion on how Kentucky is meeting the needs of Kentucky's exceptional children. He said Mr. Tim Gott and Mr. Corey Alderdice, Director and Assistant Director of the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at Western Kentucky University, discussed how the program is doing in its first year of operation. The academy is a residential year-long program designed for students interested in careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. All juniors who complete the academy will be awarded 60 hours of college credit. The first class has 120 students representing 61 counties. They explained the benefits of the academy to the state are to prepare Kentucky students to compete in a knowledge-based economy, to stop the "brain-drain", to eliminate achievement gaps, to create higher paying jobs, and to be a beacon of excellence.
Representative Edmonds said Dr. Aris Cedeņo, Executive Director of The Governor's Scholars Program explained that the program, in operation since 1983, is a five-week, residential summer program for academically gifted students who have just completed their junior year in high school. He explained the history of the program, the selection process, and what happens after students attend. This past year saw 1,148 students representing all 120 Kentucky counties studying at Centre College, Bellarmine University, and Morehead State University. Participants receive no grades or no college credit; however, Governor's Scholars are guaranteed scholarships from each of Kentucky's colleges and universities.
Representative Edmonds said Dr. Johnnie Grissom and Mr. Larry Taylor, with the Kentucky Department of Education's (KDE) Office of Special Instructional Services, gave a presentation on students with disabilities. They said there are approximately 10,000 students between the ages of 3 and 21 with physical or mental disabilities that are enrolled in Kentucky's public schools. They explained how districts are meeting the needs of these students and the assistance that is provided by the department. They also explained the requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act as it relates to special needs students.
Representative Marzian reported on the Subcommittee on Postsecondary Education. She said representatives of Project Women and the University of Louisville made a presentation regarding the Louisville Scholar House, a collaboration designed to address the barriers that low-income single mothers frequently encounter in pursuing postsecondary education and employment. She said barriers include: childcare, housing, transportation, employment, and a lack of support systems.
Representative Marzian said the Scholar House collaboration will include the development of on-campus housing; an on-site early childhood model school; academic and career advising, peer support, case management, and connections to community resources.
Representative Marzian said the second presentation was regarding the Endowment Match Program, also known as "Bucks for Brains." The program uses state dollars to leverage private donations to support research at public universities. To receive state funds, institutions must obtain commitments for matching funds from private sources. The long-term goals of the program are to stimulate business development, create jobs, and improve Kentucky's position in a new, knowledge-based economy.
Representative Marzian said since its creation as part of House Bill 1 in 1997, the General Assembly has appropriated $350 million for the Endowment Match Program, or approximately 11 percent of total appropriations for Postsecondary Education. When matched with private giving, almost $700 million will be added to the endowments of Kentucky's public universities.
Representative Marzian said some of the outcomes of the program since its inception include: increase of the market value of research university endowments from $454 million to $1.5 billion, or by 230 percent; increase in the number of endowed chairs from 55 to 211, or by 284 percent; and an increase in combined federal and extramural research and development expenditures at the universities, from $181 million to $549 million, or by 303 percent.
Senator Winters introduced Mr. Kevin Brown, assistant legal council, KDE, to explain 702 KAR 7:065, which designates an agent to manage high school interscholastic athletics. Mr. Brown also introduced Ms. Brigid DeVries, Commissioner of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA), and Mr. Julian Tackett,KHSAA.
Mr. Brown said the Subcommittee on Administrative Regulations attached a letter of deficiency to 702 KAR 7:065 at its last meeting in August 2007. He said since that time, the KHSAA Board of Control voted 18-0 to remove proposal two from the package of regulation amendments, which was the controversial element of those regulations. After the vote, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) voted unanimously on September 5, 2007, to remove proposal two from the bylaw amendments. He said after the subsequent two votes, a letter was filed with the Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee in preparation for its next meeting to request that the committee vote to remove the letter of deficiency as well.
Representative Collins asked if there were any differences within the administrative regulation than in the past besides proposal two being omitted. Mr. Tackett explained the differences, which included codifying some restrictions on financial aid, as well as extending some transfer restrictions who are below grade nine, but play up and then choose to attend another school. He said all members agreed on the changes and there was no dissension by anyone in the group. Representative Collins asked if all parties agreed to these changes, and Mr. Tackett assured him that they had.
Senator Winters asked for a motion to amend administrative regulation 702 KAR 7:065 by removing proposition two. Senator Kerr made the motion, and Representative Rasche seconded the motion. The motion was approved on a roll call vote of 32 yeas, 0 nays, and 0 passes.
Senator Shaughnessy commended the staff at KHSAA for consensus reached in fourteen different issues on the administrative regulation. He recognized the leadership of Kentucky universities with the Governor's Scholars Program and UofL's leadership in the collaboration with Project Women. He also said the foresight and vision of Governor Patton and the legislature to commit hundreds of millions of dollars to endow faculty positions at Kentucky's universities helped to change the cultures at UK and UofL and is an example of what can happen when people work together. He suggested a cooling off period by KHSAA and the people on the other side of the issue and letting the students play sports in peace.
Representative Greer said proposal two may have not been the answer but fairness needs to be incorporated in the athletic system in the state of Kentucky. He said it is an unfair advantage that a school may have students from 10 to 15 different counties and 2 to 3 different states competing against public schools within Kentucky. He said this is taking away from students within the public school system to be winners or champions and feels that after a cooling off period that the issue should be revisited.
Representative Collins agreed with Representative Greer and said he officiated basketball for 35 years. He said there is unfairness within the system and it not the fault of the children, but of the adults abusing the system. He said some answers need to be sought to hold accountable the people in charge because this is not the correct way to be running athletics in Kentucky.
Representative Draud asked Ms. DeVries about the change of alignment of having six classifications for football in a state as small as Kentucky and the rationale behind this system. Mr. Tackett responded that the conversation started years ago because even in the smallest class, the disparity between the schools had grown tremendously wide. He said schools with 100 students were competing with schools with 520 students, but both were still categorized in the same class. The same thing also occurred with schools that had 950 students competing with schools with 2,100 students enrolled. He said the football advisory committee and the board begin researching ideas to obtain a better balance, and 80 percent of the schools surveyed agreed to the new classification system. Representative Draud asked how many schools were located within each classification system, and Mr. Tackett said between 37 or 38. Representative Draud said there is a state champion for every 37 schools and six or eight of those teams making the playoffs. Mr. Tackett said that was correct, but some argue that football is still the only remaining sport that every team does not get to make the playoffs.
Representative Graham asked how a school that is classified as category A, and trying to move up to category AA, affects the number of classifications in schools within that range. Mr. Tackett said it affects only the school that is moving up. He said the board did not want the decision of a school to move up to affect the decision of another school having to drop down. He said those five schools that were permitted to play up for geographic reasons are in classes that have an extra team compared to what they would have had otherwise.
Representative Graham asked if a school can move up two classes. Mr. Tackett said schools that were approved were allowed to move up to improve their geographic travel situation only, and this is why some schools that wanted to move were denied. He said the board decided not to cap how far they could move within this two-year period. He said the policy is being reviewed about not placing any restrictions on how many levels a school can move up.
Senator Winters introduced Ms. Becky Gilpatrick and Ms. Melissa Justice, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority (KHEAA), to explain and answer questions on administrative regulations 11 KAR 3:100, administrative wage garnishment, and 11 KAR 5:145, College Access Program (CAP) grant award determination procedure. There were no questions from the members and no action was necessary on the administrative regulations.
Senator Winters introduced Mr. David Couch, Associate Commissioner on Education Technology, KDE; Ms. Vicki Fields, Chief Education Technology Leader, Kenton County Schools; and Mr. Benny Lile, Chief Information Officer, Barren County Schools, to give an update to the committee on the distribution of technology funds and their impact.
Mr. Couch said the 2007-2012 Kentucky Education Technology System (KETS) Master Plans highlights the importance of enhancing instruction through the use of educational technology, demonstrates the potential for instructional transformation using technology to address the diverse ways that students learn, supports the multiplying effect of education technology to provide students the opportunity to realize their full potential, and empowers teachers to deliver differentiated instruction based on data-driven decision-making.
Mr. Couch said the KETS Master Plan was approved by the KBE in February, 2007 and the administrative regulation took effect in July 2007. He said the Master Plan describes projects, initiatives and priorities that reflect common characteristics and recurring themes. These are: anytime, anywhere, always-on, differentiated teaching and learning; capacity building and enhancement of staff and resources; data-driven decision-making for teachers and administrators; and efficiency and governance.
Mr. Couch explained the education technology financial information. He said the fiscal year 2008 KETS unmet need and expenditure plan was presented and approved at the August KBE meeting. Within that plan, there is $132 million in basic unmet need, $300 million in catch-up from 2000-2006, and $164 million in discretionary items.
Mr. Couch described the key funding sources to help with the implementation of the Master Plan. He said $50 million was received to up-grade the workstations across the state and $29 million to up-grade the information highway. He said they were also able to leverage some money at the state level to receive federal money through the KISTA program in the amount of $22.7 million. He said the federal money went to implementing intelligent classrooms across the state.
Mr. Couch said the state is taking advantage of funding received through construction funds. He said if a school district is doing a major renovation project or new construction, a portion of facilities construction money, up to $75 million statewide, may be used for technology components.
Mr. Couch explained the implementation status of major initiatives since fiscal year 2007. He said the $50 million instructional device upgrade (IDU) continues to be implemented across the state as scheduled. He said a committee made up of superintendents, curriculum supervisors, finance officers, and education technology leaders analyzed what school districts were wanting from the new educational tools and the best way to deploy it across the state. He said the committee also wanted to maximize the buying power of the state in acquiring these tools, and school districts have spent $32.6 million of the $50 million designated thus far. He said this program has also allowed teachers and students to buy these educational tools for their home use, which results in savings of 50 percent off retail for the computers, and 90 percent off retail for the software package for computers in their personal homes.
Mr. Couch said the Kentucky Education Network (KEN) program is a joint effort between the K-12 program and higher education. He said Kentucky became the first state in the country in 1995 to offer high speed Internet connections to every district, and in 2000, was the only state in the country to offer high speed connections to every school. He said students still complained of slow instruction through the Internet in school buildings and the upgrades were made across the state after the last legislative session to the super high-speed highway. He said currently 121 school districts out of 174 have the upgrade.
Mr. Couch described other major initiatives underway. The next generation School Information System pilot of Infinite Campus is still on schedule. Encyclomedia is making a big educational difference with teachers and addresses their need for a differentiated learning tool in the classroom. The $5 million for Math Achievement (I Can Learn or Carnegie Systems) has been fully deployed in six pilot districts. The Individual Learning Plan (ILP) has been fully implemented, with more than 300,000 students accounts created for grades 6-12. The next generation virtual learning environment is in place and currently used by students. The $5 million for grid computing has placed 5,000 computers in schools that are used for both instructional tasks in the classroom and cancer research by UofL. The next generation Internet content management system is now in place in 95 school districts, with all 174 districts expected to be in place by June 2008. Internet 2 instructional content for schools is expected to be in place in October 2007. The first phase of KIDS is scheduled to be in place in December 2007. The Read to Achieve system was finished in August 2007. The Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) online testing for special needs students occurred in the spring of 2007. Beginning in May 2007, districts and the KDE have been provided Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services for SPAM control and e-mail content management, resulting in a 95 percent reduction in unsolicited and inappropriate e-mail.
Mr. Couch discussed some other information of interest which included the 2007 STLP State Championship being hosted at the Lexington Convention Center. He said this year's attendance was 3,500, prompting a move to Rupp Arena next year. He said two new research studies provide significant findings to support digital classrooms. The America's Digital Schools and the Metiri Study give factors for student achievement linked to technology. He said ConnectKentucky's 2007 Progress Report highlights the Commonwealth's efforts to accelerate the availability and adoption of broadband. Over the last three years, coverage has grown to 91 percent, an addition of nearly 500,000 previously unserved homes. He also said the technology readiness survey results are available and allow comparison between school districts across the state.
Mr. Lile said the IDU project has brought the Barren County district around 500 new computers that have been installed since last spring. He said in-house help desk calls have fallen 60 percent due to not having to maintain four and five year old computers within the schools. He noted this frees up the technology staff to devote their time to engineering the networks and working on web-based applications that will get critical content into the classrooms.
Mr. Lile said the computers purchased through the IDU project have resulted in a cost savings that allowed Barren County to use funds for other projects. He said there is more web-based software available than ever before and updates to the server and router infrastructure has taken advantage of the high-speed KEN network. He said KISTA funds allowed for installation of the interactive classrooms in several school buildings which allows kindergarten students through 12th grade math students to take advantage of the real time web-based activities.
Ms. Fields expressed her deep gratitude to the members for their support and funding dedicated to the technology programs. She said the $50 million dollar bond issue will replace 33 percent of the computer workstations in Kenton County, and prepares them for on-line testing and immediate assessment results. She said another portion of the appropriation is for the ILP. She said this allows for 6-12th grade students to discuss their career interests, which helps project the future needs of what types of teachers a school district will need to hire.
Ms. Fields said the funding has assisted Kenton County in using the money earmarked for replacing the computers to be used towards applications such as diagnostic testing. She said diagnostic testing is crucial for school districts so tiered interventions can be applied and implemented early for students when necessary, which are web-based. She also said students can fall behind during the summer break, and the KEN network and the expanded broadband allows students to access all the applications 24 hours a day. She said high school students seem to like to access the applications between 11:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., which allows them to choose the time that they want to learn.
Mr. Couch said another fascinating piece of the intelligent classrooms across the state is the concept called diagnostic or formative testing. This testing allows teachers to see where students are in their learning levels at any time. The intelligent classroom has a board and a projector that will show questions, while students hand-click the answers from their desks, which keeps students in the back row of the classroom just as engaged as the students sitting on the front row in responding to questions. He said this also provides teachers immediate feedback on the percentage of students who know the correct answer, and the percentage of students who do not. He said from a national perspective, a study was conducted that ranks Kentucky fifth overall in education technology.
Senator Winters said the swift action of the legislature last year to provide funding for upgrades in technology changes Kentucky's ranking of 46th in the nation to 5th and this is phenomenal, and makes Kentucky a pace setter in this area. He is very excited about Kentucky's foresight in the area of education technology.
Senator Westwood said he is currently serving on a task force that is looking at dropout prevention and orienting students into career tracks. He said the idea of the ILP came up and many parents and students do not know it even exists. He thinks parents should be made more aware of the ILP across the state and this could go along way in fixing some careers issues facing students across the Commonwealth.
Mr. Couch said last year was the first year sixth graders by law were required to have the ILP information electronically, and sophomore, juniors, and seniors can still have the paper form, but be in compliance by law. He said 327,000 electronic accounts have been made and 167,000 of those students accounts are being used regularly. The areas used the most are in middle school in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, and the students using it the least are the sophomores, juniors, and seniors. He said parents and students get much more engaged with the electronic form of the ILP than the paper form. The alternative schools are using the ILP in the very least amounts, and these students are probably the most in need of it.
Mr. Lile said Barren County's counselors have embraced the ILP whole heartedly. He said the counselor reviews and ILP's and meets in person with the students who do not appear to have a clear career path. After these meetings, the counselor reported the number of students doubled who said they planned to attend Bowling Green Technical College. He also said it is not unusual to see guidance counselors working with elementary students in getting them familiar with the ILP, and give presentations frequently in the middle schools.
Mr. Couch said awareness is essential and there are professional development courses for counselors and teachers being conducted across the state on the use of ILP's. He also said there were projections of 30 percent of students actively using the ILP by now, and these numbers have been greatly exceeded, and should increase even more by this time next year.
Senator Westwood asked about the state launching a state awareness campaign to bring focus on the ILP issue. Ms. Fields responded that the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce supported a program called "The Best Program", which is the association of businesses matched to the schools. She said the training materials mention the ILP program because they are making the connections on what jobs will be available and determining the skills and interest levels of the students in the area.
Senator Westwood said he is not particularly discouraged that the younger students are the highest group accessing the ILP simply because he feels many of the career decisions do need to be made after the students have the PLAN and EXPLORER assessments. Mr. Couch said the most powerful piece is parent engagement because they can get involved from their computer at home as long as they are aware that it exists.
Senator Westwood asked what the next generation Internet content management system is. Mr. Couch said content management is another word used for filter because the purpose of the tool is to allow the school district to have the choice of the content that is accepted into their district because different school districts have different views on what is acceptable and what is not.
Senator Westwood said he thinks the KIDS program is a good plan, but asked how long the state keeps the records and if the records are expunged immediately after a student graduates. Mr. Couch said the intention is to follow kindergarteners all the way through their experience in higher education and the workforce to see what types of things made a difference in their lives.
Representative Collins asked about the figures 124 out of 174 districts and asked Mr. Couch to review the information. Mr. Couch said 121 school districts have been upgraded to the high-speed KEN connection and Kentucky is on track to meet all of its future target numbers. Representative Collins asked if the school districts that have the KEN connection have all of its outlying schools upgraded as well. Mr. Couch said all outlying schools are connected, but school districts need to put high-speed connections internally as well because the connection between the district and the school needs to be high-speed. He said 70 percent of Kentucky schools currently have a high-speed connection between the school and the district office, and he is currently working with cable companies to make this affordable in other parts of the state.
Representative Draud said the ILP is a relatively new program, but more emphasis needs to be placed on bringing more awareness to this great on-line program. He said the point Mr. Couch made earlier about parent engagement has tremendous potential to get parents involved in their children's future as early as the sixth grade level.
Representative Draud asked why the next generation Internet content management program only has 95 districts out of 174 taking advantage of the program. Mr. Couch said since 1998, the regulation was put into place and school districts have used filters. This next generation Internet content management program is new and is being installed all over the state, and 92 districts have been completed.
Representative Draud asked what percentage of children have access to computers in their home. Mr. Couch said this information is in the ConnectKentucky data and is about 50 to 60 percent of all homes, and the percentage is much higher in homes with children enrolled in K-12. He said the costs have really been driven down for teachers and students to purchase computers for their home, but the key is having high-speed Internet access within the home, and the partnership with ConnectKentucky addresses that issue. Representative Draud said the numbers would be good to know because students without a home computer are certainly put at a disadvantage.
Representative Farmer made a comment to Mr. Lile about maintenance going down 60 percent after installing the 500 new computers in his school district. He said leasing should be considered as an option for these computers on a three-year rolling basis so that computers are not obsolete as soon as they are installed, and it would also keep the technology as current as economically feasible, as well as maintenance costs down.
Mr. Lile said the 60 percent lower maintenance figure will diminish in two or three years as computers age. He said the majority of old computers are still being used in some fashion, but are not being put to task with the heavy network resources. He said many older computers are used for teaching word processing and spreadsheet skills and so that still keeps the number of technical help calls to a minimum.
Mr. Couch said superintendents do not like leases, they want to own the equipment. He said leasing is typically much more expensive than buying although it does contain added-value services.
Ms. Fields commented that leasing becomes a permanent, on-going line item in a school district's budget and almost becomes like an entitlement program. For example, if a district budgeted the $50 million bond, which can be $1 million, this would be a $1 million line item in the school district's budget every year. She said it is difficult for superintendents to make this kind of commitment with issues such as full-time kindergarten, preschool, and diagnostic tools facing the district and not knowing what future legislative decisions will be.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 2:30 p.m.