Call to Order and Roll Call
Theseventh meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on Monday, December 6, 2010, at 12:30 PM, in Room 154 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 Carl Rollins II, Co-Chair; Senators Jimmy Higdon, Vernie McGaha, R.J. Palmer II, Tim Shaughnessy, Johnny Ray Turner, and Jack Westwood; Representatives Linda Belcher, John "Bam" Carney, Hubert Collins, Leslie Combs, Jim DeCesare, C. B. Embry Jr., Bill Farmer, Tim Firkins, Kelly Flood, Derrick Graham, Jeff Greer, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, Harry Moberly Jr., Marie Rader, Jody Richards, Tom Riner, Charles Siler, Dottie Sims, Kent Stevens, Wilson Stone, and Addia Wuchner.
Legislative Guests: Representatives Arnold Simpson and Susan Westrom.
Guests: Charlotte Beason, Executive Director, Nathan Goldman, General Counsel, and Patricia Spurr, Educational Consultant, Kentucky Board of Nursing; LuAnn Asbury, Kentucky Education Association; Jen Bolero, C. Benedict, and Frances Short, Public Protection Cabinet; Jim Thompson, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet; Clyde Caudill, Kentucky Association of School Administrators and Jefferson County Public School System; and Scott Douglas, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents.
Approval of Minutes
Upon a motion by Representative Collins, seconded by Representative Richards, the minutes of the November 8, 2010, meeting were approved by voice vote.
Review of Executive Orders
Dr. Terry Holliday, Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) explained Executive Order (EO) 2010-856 relating to the Reorganization of the KDE. He said the reorganization of the KDE was necessary to create an agency that is more streamlined and efficient and to help provide services more effectively. The reorganization will allow KDE to address priorities related to 2009’s Senate Bill 1 and other legislative mandates and the Kentucky Board of Education’s (KBE) strategic plan. The recurring annual savings will result in $500,000 and the KDE is focused on key work for the future.
In response to a question from Representative Embry, Dr. Holliday said the reorganization does not change the status of Family Resource Youth Service Centers (FRYSCs).
In response to a question from Representative Stone, the commissioner said the Division of Career and Technical Education was temporarily made into a branch. He said it was integrated into the Office of Next Generation Schools and Districts in order to elevate its status. The Governor’s Task Force will possibly make recommendations to ensure that Career and Technical Education is elevated and integrated.
In response to questions from Representative Collins, Dr. Holliday said the reorganization of the division of Career and Technical Education in no way diminishes the significance of the career and technical schools. He said the KDE has recommended to the KBE as part of the new accountability model to measure and rate school systems on the percentage of students that become career ready in addition to those that meet college ready standards based on the ACT. He noted the 54 area technology centers fall under the purview of the Workforce Development Cabinet. The matter of combining the systems should be reviewed by the General Assembly in the 2011 session. Representative Collins noted on record that he is strongly opposed to the career and technical schools being controlled by the local boards of education. He said the local boards of education may cut these types of programs when budgets constraints arise.
Dr. Holliday said there were over 600 KDE positions in the early 2000s and currently there are a little over 300 positions based in Frankfort. Mr. Hiren Desai, Associate Commissioner, Office of Administration and Support, KDE, said a hiring freeze was enacted in August 2010 due to budget cuts. He said positions went from 611 filled positions to 541 as a result of the hiring freeze. Dr. Holliday noted that KDE is hindered by the 40 percent reduction in staff and said some job duties that were performed in the past will have to be eliminated. He said Senate Bill 1 and regulatory legal requirements are being accomplished with diminished staff. KDE will compile a list of job duties that are not being completed due to decreased staff and will disseminate to the Interim Joint Committee on Education (IJCE) members in the near future.
In response to questions from Representative DeCesare, Dr. Holliday said the reorganization will not have any effect on community education. He did not know how many KDE staff currently earn over $100,000 a year, but will find out and get the information to Representative DeCesare. KDE loses high quality people at the management level to school districts who pay on average 20 to 30 percent more than at the department level.
Senator Higdon commended Dr. Holliday on elevating the status and importance of career and technical education. He said every student has a gift and this is an important avenue for many students to enter and be successful in the workforce.
Representative Richards said many are concerned about the role of career and technical education. Vocational education should be integrated into the curriculum and funding should not be reduced. The Workforce Development Cabinet, the KDE, and the co-chairs of the IJCE should work together to elevate secondary vocational education in Kentucky.
In response to a question from Senator McGaha, Mr. Desai said out of the 541 KDE employees, 325 are based in Frankfort. He said the remainder of staff are based at the Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville and the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville.
In response to a question from Representative Belcher, Dr. Holliday said the Division of Exceptional Children will be moved to the Office of Next Generation Schools and Districts. He said Larry Taylor will remain in charge of special education services and this remains an integral part of the system.
Mr. Ryan Green, Executive Director, Office of Budget and Administration, explained EO 2010-927 relating to the Reorganization of the Governor’s Scholars Program. The executive order transfer the Governor’s Scholars Program from the Office of the Governor to the Office of the Secretary for the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet to implement more effective and efficient management of state government operations. There is no fiscal impact associated with the reorganization.
In response to a question from Representative Stone, Mr. Green said the reorganization would not result in fewer students receiving the Governor’s Scholarship awards.
Senator Winters made comments and honored the service of Senator Elizabeth Tori. Representative Rollins made comments and honored the service of Representatives Moberly, Siler, Firkins, Stevens, and Sims. Representative Carney moved to accept the resolutions, and Representative DeCesare seconded the motion. The resolutions were adopted by voice vote. Representative Siler shared comments about the conditions of education in 1989 and the reasons behind his “yay” vote in 1990 for the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA). His specific remarks were distributed to members of the committee.
Status Report: Kentucky P-20 Data Collaborative
Mr. Joe Meyer, Secretary, Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, said the P-20 data collaborative is a cooperative venture between the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB), and the KDE working through the Kentucky Education and Workforce Cabinet. Agencies are working under a memorandum of agreement and it requires that high level governance decisions be made by unanimous consent. The collaborative’s goal is to create a shared repository, which is a tool that would allow each agency to use the data that is generated by each agency more efficiently. The overall goal of the collaborative is to improve student success, teacher preparation, college readiness, and college success through the effective use of quality data. Funding for the initiative is through a $9 million grant from the United States Department of Education for a three-year period that expires in the spring of 2012.
Mr. Charles McGrew, Executive Director, Kentucky P-20 Data Collaborative, said the purpose of the P-20 data collaborative project is to provide better, more timely information to inform policy makers than has ever been available before. It will provide a secure way to link data across agencies and to show a more complete picture. It will identify the state’s critical policy questions and develop processes to answer them. Finally, it will provide policy makers and stakeholders the information they need in the format they need it to improve programs and services.
Mr. McGrew said other advantages of the P-20 data collaborative project include the lesser expense of bringing in data from agencies that do not have their own system and reporting tools. The linked data will show a more complete picture that will allow a broader impact of policies across agency boundaries. It will coordinate agreed metrics and terms instead of every office developing their own definition of things like “college readiness” and “student success.” He said it will also cut down on duplicate efforts to collect and maintain data.
Mr. McGrew said the project needs to seek additional federal funds to offset some staffing costs, expand the infrastructure, and add new data sources. There are currently no funds earmarked to sustain the system past March of 2012.
In response to questions from Representative DeCesare, Mr. Meyer said the P-20 data collaborative project is housed within the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. Mr. McGrew said the significant cost of continuing the project will be staffing which is estimated at $800,000 a year.
In response to a question from Representative Moberly, Mr. McGrew said the costs associated with the project are operating budget expenses and not capital issues. Representative Moberly said data collection is essential. Secretary Meyer said it was a priority for the cabinet.
In response to a question from Senator Westwood, Mr. McGrew said school systems can receive data on former students at no additional cost. The information will not be student specific.
Representative Rollins said this project needs to be fully funded in the future. He said the data is critical and all parties need to be fully cooperative.
In response to a question from Senator Shaughnessy, Mr. McGrew said no new data is being collected. This is matching data that is already collected by each agency that is going to incur the cost. The $800,000 is a new cost for providing technical staff and researchers to the P-20 data collaborative.
In response to a question from Senator McGaha, Mr. McGrew said no data is currently collected from proprietary schools. He said he would like to form a partnership with the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority in the future because they do obtain information about students at for profit institutions. Senator McGaha feels this data is very important moving forward. He said students’ interests should be guarded in relation to retention and graduation rates at proprietary schools.
In response to a question from Senator Winters, Mr. McGrew said a major focus in the future will be identifying critical questions on what information to collect.
Proprietary Education in Kentucky: Governance and Consumer Issues
Dr. Charlotte Beason, Executive Director, Mr. Nathan Goldman, General Counsel, and Ms. Patricia Spurr, Education Consultant, Kentucky Board of Nursing, presented information regarding the procedures used by the Board of Nursing in the approval of programs and ensuring program quality after initial approval. Dr. Beason said the Kentucky Board of Nursing is an agency of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, governed by the Nurse Practice Act. The Board is a separate and distinct entity from any professional association. The Board is self-supporting through fees assessed for professional licensure.
Dr. Beason said the board’s job is to protect public health and welfare by developing and enforcing state laws governing the safe practice of nursing. The board takes this responsibility very seriously. She explained to the committee the process of the State Board of Nursing’s program approval procedure, including initial approval, oversight and renewal of approved programs, how the board becomes aware of program quality issues, and what actions are taken to ensure program quality is maintained. She also explained how existing students may be affected when programs are identified as deficient, placed on probation, or close. Tremendous financial and emotional burdens are placed upon students when families make sacrifices and no degree or better employment is obtained due to a program closing or employers not recognizing the degree from a particular school.
In response to questions from Senator Winters, Dr. Beason said any school that prepares prelicensure nursing students comes under the purview of the Board of Nursing. The Board of Nursing has oversight whether it is a public, private, or proprietary school. Additional responsibilities were mandated in the 2010 legislative session relating to postgraduate education as well. Schools are reviewed annually similar to the National League of Nursing. The Board of Nursing collaborates with accrediting entities. Each school receives a status report at the end of each year.
In response to questions from Representative Rollins, Dr. Beason said a school offering a quality education should have no fewer than 15 percent of its graduates to fail the licensure exam the first time they take it. The Board of Nursing expects an 85 percent pass rate. Ms. Spurr said they do not visit any school they receive complaints about unless they are in specific violation of a regulation. She calls the program administrator if the complaint is more than just a disgruntled student. Dr. Beason said the board voted to close one program four years ago, but the decision was overturned in circuit court.
In response to questions from Senator McGaha, Dr. Beason said there are currently no schools on probation and none of the proprietary schools are nationally accredited. She said this could be due to cost and rigor of becoming nationally accredited.
Dr. Beason said the Board of Nursing does not pay for the advertisements published in the Board of Nursing magazine. These are paid for by a publishing company even though the Board of Nursing name is on the ad. The board was given a legal opinion that it must accept these advertisements, and it is trying to determine what schools can place an advertisement in their magazine as this has been a longstanding concern. The magazine was the board’s official notification as mandated in statute. Senator McGaha said the official notification could be in a different manner than the magazine with misleading advertisements. Mr. Goldman said he did not know if the board could be challenged in court if it only allowed nursing programs that had been approved to place advertisements in its magazine.
In response to questions from Representative Graham, Ms. Spurr explained the faculty requirements for teachers crossing state borders and teaching nursing at a Kentucky university. Teachers from surrounding states must be licensed in Kentucky and meet all Kentucky requirements. In addition, a master’s degree is required to teach a RN course or a bachelor’s in nursing with the understanding to complete a master’s degree within five years. Teachers from out of state also need two years of clinical experience.
In response to a question from Representative Miller, Dr. Beason said all student complaints are followed up on, however some result in a focused survey and some do not. She said complaints from faculty can result in a private meeting with the board.
In response to questions from Representative Wuchner, Ms. Spurr said the Board of Nursing website lists all schools and contact numbers. The website also shows geographic locations of the schools because so many students want to attend a school close to home. Representative Wuchner would like to see the advertisements in the magazines stopped for schools that are not approved. Dr. Beason said the board takes the action of shutting down a program very seriously and realizes that it impacts the lives of citizens.
Senator Winters cut off questions due to time constraints. Dr. Beason said she would be happy to answer any additional questions that she receives in writing.
The presentation regarding the Kentucky State Board for Proprietary Education was given by Mr. Mark Gabis, Chair, Mr. Ryan Halloran, Assistant Attorney General, and Frances S. Short, Executive Director, Office of Occupations and Professions. The Office of Occupations and Professions serves as administrative support to the board. Mr. Gabis said the purpose of the State Board for Proprietary Education is to administer and enforce the statutory authority and to monitor the needs of the consuming public. The board licenses all eligible schools under its jurisdiction. It recommends appropriate changes in the law to assure fairness and equality. The board conducts formal hearings when necessary and prosecutes by due process any violators of KRS 165A. The board is a self-supporting agency and receives no general fund tax appropriation. It is funded entirely through fees assessed for licensing its institutions.
Mr. Gabis said a complaint may be submitted by an individual, organization, or entity and is heard by a complaint committee established by the board chair and made up of one school representative and two members at large. There is usually an assistant attorney general present at the meeting when the complaint is reviewed. The complaint committee reviews complaints, conducts informal proceedings, and makes recommendations for disposition of complaints to the full board. The full board reviews the complaint committee’s recommendations and determines whether to dismiss the complaint or proceed with a formal investigation, which may also include judicial action. Mr. Gabis said funding for the board is obtained through licensure fees. Fees have not increased in the last ten years. The student protection funds for student claims when a school closes are also funded by users. The funding revenue has been around $190,000 the last two years. Expenses for the board per year are approximately $200,000. The largest expense is for administrative fees paid to the Office of Occupations and Professions. Other expenses of the board include: the per diem of $100 a day in travel expenses for board members; fees and expenses paid to the board’s inspector or investigator; attorney fees paid to the attorney general’s office for legal services rendered by an assistant attorney general for attendance to meetings, and drafting regulations, letters, and legal opinions.
Mr. Gabis said all statutes, regulations, and forms for the board are easily accessible at the board’s website www.bpe.ky.gov. The process for filling out a complaint form or an appeal is on this website. There is no fee for filing a complaint. The regulations require that the complaint is verified. There is $500,000 in the student protection fund. Over the past five years, the board has paid $15,000 in claims.
Mr. Gabis said the board meets once a month typically for three to six hours. Most of the board’s time at meetings is spent on reviewing applications and notifications. Schools are visited that are in frequent violation of statute rather than other schools who are compliant. Four of the 130 licensed proprietary schools are accredited. The only schools that are licensed are institutions that offer no higher than an associate degree. About 30 percent of students attend a proprietary school.
Mr. Gabis explained the procedures used before initially licensing an institution and the periodic review procedures for licensed institutions. He also explained how the board deals with informal complaints such as letters, emails, and telephone calls as opposed to formal complaints using forms required by administrative regulations. Board members reported that it is very rare to receive an informal complaint. If they receive one, the students are directed to the website to fill out the complaint form or a form is mailed to them if they do not have access to a computer.
In response to questions from Senator Winters, Mr. Halleran said the attorney general’s office represents about forty boards. The boards are billed $100.00 an hour for receiving legal advice, time spent attending meetings, and drafting regulations. If litigation is required either in or out of court, the board is billed $125 an hour. Members can remove themselves from the board if the attorney general is asked to investigate the board. Mr. Gabis said one school board member is currently missing from the board. Senator Winters said the board membership raises some questions because most of its members are employed in proprietary schools.
In response to questions from Senator McGaha, Mr. Gabis said the board has not been audited in about twelve years and he does not see a reason for an audit. He said the feasibility of conducting an audit would be on the agenda for the January 2011 board meeting. He will review the minutes and report how many times he has been elected as chair since 2008. The statute requires annual elections, but this is not always typical. Ms. Short said financial expenditures are available from over three years ago, but they have supplied financial documents for the past three years.
Mr. Gabis said $225,000 was moved from the operating budget to the student finance protection fund in 2007. He said $14,000 was spent out of the fund in 2010 to pay out claims. Senator McGaha said $225,000 is not very much protection for 19,000 students. He also noted that $5,000 was spent in three months to revise the CDL requirements and only $14,000 was spent to protect the students in five years.
Mr. Gabis said the amount of capital a school has available is reviewed when an institution applies for a new school. He said cash on hand is one of the things the board looks at in determining if a school will be successful. Also, the schools submit information annually that staff reviews to ensure the school is financially sound. He noted low claims against the student protection fund assured the board that how they had been conducting business since 1976 was working. A letter of admonishment is sent to schools to let them know if they are doing something inappropriate. The case is under review that claimed unqualified people were teaching courses. Upon appeal, the board decided it needed more facts. Senator Winters said he is concerned because the statute reads that students are only protected if a school closes, and not a program. Mr. Gabis said that schools tend to close, but programs do not. If a school has a program that closes, it must take care of the students who were enrolled in the program in order to remain open.
In response to a question from Representative Rollins, Mr. Gabis said the board has a contract with an investigator who interviews faculty and students when investigating a complaint. Representative Rollins said there may be legislation drafted to correct the board being made up of primarily people who work in proprietary institutions.
In response to a question from Representative Collins, Mr. Gabis said the complaint review committee reviews all complaints and makes recommendations to the board. If the school does not a agree with the finding, they can request a hearing in front of the full board excluding the people who originally reviewed the complaint, or a hearing officer may be requested. Mr. Gabis said schools have been fined, but never closed. He did not have the investigator’s qualifications that investigated the closed Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) school.
Ms. Jan Gordon, Executive Director, and Mr. Grover Potts, General Counsel, Spencerian College, presented a fact sheet for Spencerian College. A copy of the fact sheet can be located in the meeting materials in the Legislative Research Commission (LRC) library.
Ms. Gordon said Spencerian College believes in providing quality training and is responsive to student concerns and/or complaints. She said every college has a few disgruntled students. Spencerian college graduates in the audience did not get to speak due to time constraints. She said employers and school representatives from across the state were there in support of Spencerian College.
Ms. Gordon said Spencerian College has trained 621 students who have passed their exam and have become licensed registered nurses since 2002. This is an overall pass rate of 93 percent. There was a 96 percent pass rate in 2009 in the practical nursing program. Students must complete a LPN program at Spencerian before enrolling in an associate degree program. The majority of students are working females who are trying to balance families, college, and jobs at the same time.
Ms. Gordon said Spencerian College prepares students for a successful career from the time of their enrollment but cannot guarantee employment. The college makes every effort to assist with the job search process by providing contacts, guidance, and direction as well as lifetime placement assistance. Students have tuition lock-in, which guarantees that students’ tuition will not increase as long as they stay continuously enrolled. Students can also repeat courses one time without additional tuition if they are in good standing with the college. These are unique programs specific to Spencerian College.
In response to a question from Representative Rollins, Ms. Gordon said the Kentucky Board of Nursing in Kentucky is one of three states that require a 85 percent pass rate. Every other state is 80 percent or less, and Spencerian College had a 81 percent pass rate for 2009. Representative Rollins said Kentucky is proud of having a higher standard than other states.
In response to questions from Representative Meeks, Ms. Gordon said Spencerian College has filed legal actions against a board. National data for proprietary schools is different than state data. Spencerian College’s placement rate for the past year was 78 percent and the retention rate was 70 percent. She noted that private schools receive no federal or state funds for the construction of new facilities. This is one reason why tuition is higher at these schools than public universities.
Representative Miller said he has never heard of local employers not hiring Spencerian college graduates. He said he is proud of Spencerian College, and he used to serve on its board.
In response to a question from Representative McGaha, Ms. Gordon said she does see a problem with transferring credits from her institution to another school. The General Assembly could help with this problem by establishing a common course numbering system for all classes to match at every school. The common course standards would make transferring credits easier for all students. Senator McGaha said the legislature has worked on this and will continue to look at it in the future. Ms. Gordon also assured Senator McGaha that she recuses herself from board meetings when complaints are being heard about Spencerian College.
Senator Winters said common course numbers would be a step forward, but will not fix all of the transfer problems until common assessments are adopted. The problem of students transferring credits among schools is bigger than just adopting common course numbers. He is committed to working on the issue until a resolution is found and welcomes suggestions from school officials or students.
Representative Embry said legislation may be drafted to deal with the proprietary board issues. His children were graduates of proprietary schools and have found good paying jobs in the workforce and have been very successful.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 3:50 p.m.