Interim Joint Committee on Education

 

Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education

 

Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 2nd Meeting

of the 2009 Interim

 

<MeetMDY1> August 10, 2009

 

The<MeetNo2> second meeting of the Subcommittee on Elementary and Secondary Education of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on<Day> Monday,<MeetMDY2> August 10, 2009, at<MeetTime> 10:00 AM, in<Room> Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Ted Edmonds, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.

 

Present were:

 

Members:<Members> Senator Vernie McGaha, Co-Chair; Representative Ted Edmonds, Co-Chair; Senators David Givens, Dan Kelly, Jack Westwood, and Ken Winters; Representatives Linda Belcher, John "Bam" Carney, Hubert Collins, Jeff Greer, Rick G. Nelson, Marie Rader, Kent Stevens, Wilson Stone, and Alecia Webb-Edgington.

 

Guests:† Bert Hensley, Superintendent, Estill County Schools; Jeffrey Castle, Franklin County Schools; Burley R. Hudson, Breathitt County Schools; Diane Evans, Lisa Hutchins, and Donald W. Smith, Marion County Schools; Jeff Hawkins, Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative; Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; Debbie Hicks, Kentucky Department of Education; Deborah Watts, Jenkins Independent Schools; John Wilkerson, Kentucky Education Association; Joe Brothers, Chair, Kentucky Board of Education; Clyde Caudill, Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA) and Jefferson County Public Schools; Dr. Leon Mooneyhan, Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative; Ruth Webb, Deputy Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Education; and Frank Rasche, Legislative Liaison, Kentucky Department of Education.

 

LRC Staff:† Janet Stevens, Audrey Carr, and Janet Oliver.

 

Representative Edmonds asked for approval of the July 13, 2009, minutes.† Upon motion by Representative Collins, with a second by Representative Greer, the minutes were approved by voice vote.

 

Representative Edmonds said that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides significant new funding to local districts for programs under Title I, Part A, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 for at-risk students who are failing to meet state academic achievement standards.† He said Ms. Debbie Hicks, Director of the Division of Federal Programs and Instructional Equity within the Kentucky Department of Education, would discuss the criteria for the awards, the amount awarded to individual Kentucky districts, and guidelines for the use of the funds; and then representatives of two local school districts would discuss how the funds are being used in their respective districts.†

 

Ms. Hicks said that the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) determines the allocation each district receives based on a formula that includes the number of formula children in each district, updated state per-pupil expenditure data, and poverty census data.† She explained that formula children are defined as a population of children ages 5-17 who are from families below the poverty level based on census data; children ages 5-17 who have lived in a licensed facility for foster children for at least 30 consecutive days; and children ages 5-17 who have been neglected and have been living in a local institution for at least 30 consecutive days with at least one of those days being in the month of October.† She said all of the calculations for funding are done by USDOE and that one of the handouts in the membersí folders provides further information on the allocation procedures.

 

Ms. Hicks said that the ARRA Title I, Part A funds consists of targeted grants and Education Finance Incentive Grants (EFIG).† She said to qualify for the targeted grants a district must have at least ten (10) formula children which equates to at least 5% of the districtís total population.† The EFIG grant has the same criteria relating to formula children but also has criteria relating to state funding to the districts for per pupil expenditure.† Ms. Hicks said the entire allocation for each state is sent to the state departments of education and that the state departments must set aside 4% of the entire allocation for school improvement.† She said the allocation for each state was based on 2007 Census Poverty Data and that Anchorage and Oldham County were the only districts in the state that did not receive funding with allocations of as little as $14,000 in small districts to $33 million in Jefferson County.† Ms. Hicks said that after KDE set aside the required 4% for school improvement, each district then received their allocations and that most districts follow a simple procedure of using free and reduced lunch student data to allocate to the schools within their district.

 

Ms. Hicks said the purpose of ARRA Title I, Part A funds are to improve teaching and learning for students considered to be at risk of not meeting state standards.† The districts also have required set asides from their total allocation, including 1% for parent involvement and equitable services to private schools.† Ms. Hicks said that several other set asides are also required at the district level and KDE will submit a request to USDOE to waive seven of those set asides so that the schools will have more funding available to meet their needs.† She said Title I funds may be used to provide supplemental instruction staff and materials and activities to increase parental involvement, support homeless students, and provide extended school day or school year services.† She said the ARRA Title I funds follow the same guidelines as regular Title I funds and may not be used to supplant local or state funds, renovate or remodel buildings, serve non-Title I schools, or for non-instructional uses.† She explained that a Title I school is defined as a school with a student population of 35% or higher poverty level and that the word ďsupplantingĒ means replacing any state or local funds that currently support a program or an initiative.

 

Representative Collins commented that 2007 census data is outdated.† Ms. Hicks said that a complete census is conducted every 10 years and the federal government updates the information periodically so ARRA regulations were based on updated 2007 census data.† Representative Collins asked how long it takes funding to reach the school districts when it is allocated.† Ms. Hicks said that, as a safeguard, KDE has asked the districts to submit a report on how they plan to use the funds to ensure that federal guidelines are followed but the districts may begin expending funds as soon as they receive an official award notification.† She explained that 50% of the ARRA funds was made available April 1 of this year and was retroactive to February 17, 2009, when the President signed the Act into law, and the remaining 50% will be released September 1.† She said Title I funding for school improvement has been delayed and will not be released until December 2009 or January 2010.

 

Senator McGaha asked for further explanation of the formula used for parental involvement, stating that it was his understanding that the schools could have 95% of 1% of the districtís entire allocation.† He asked what happens to the other 5% of the 1%.† Ms. Hicks said that although a district is required to provide parental involvement activities at the district level, many districts are allowing the entire 1% to be used at the school level.

 

Representative Carney asked if ARRA Title I funds could be used to provide Extended School Services (ESS) or if such action would be considered supplanting if funds for those services have been cut.† Ms. Hicks said that ESS is one of five Flexible Focus programs funded with state appropriated monies.† She said the districts have flexibility on how to use the remainder of the Flexible Focus program funds, so if a district allocated funds to ESS and can demonstrate there is insufficient state funds because of budget cuts to fully support the program, then the district may use federal funds to enhance that program.† She said that Title I has always been used to support after school programs including ESS and summer school, but if no funds were allocated to the ESS program, use of ARRA funds would be considered supplanting.† Representative Carney asked if there is any indication when the federal government will respond to KDEís waiver request.† She said that Kentucky had already submitted one waiver relating to the 14 day notice to parents about the school choice option since receipt of assessment data was delayed due to the numerous natural disasters that occurred during the last school year.† She said KDE will submit seven more requests for waivers and have been informed that decisions were being made very quickly.

 

Senator Westwood asked if the Individual Learning Plan (ILP) programs would qualify for ARRA Title I funds.† Ms. Hicks said that Title I funds cannot be used for ILP programs.† Senator Westwood asked Ms. Hicks to describe the seven waivers being requested.† Ms. Hicks provided the following information.† (1) A waiver will be requested to allow schools and/or districts in improvement to utilize online Supplemental Education Service (SES) providers since many districts in the far eastern and western portions of the state do not have access to onsite providers.† (2) A waiver will be requested to allow Tier 1 schools to provide Supplemental Education Services (SES) when school choice transportation and SES services in adjoining schools or counties is not available.† She explained that the current language in the ARRA legislation relating to Tier I schools, which are schools that have not made adequate yearly progress for two years in a row, requires that 20% of the funding be set aside for school choice transportation and supplemental services.† She said many schools are unable to provide school choice in adjoining schools or districts because ample space is not available and thus supplemental services may be the only alternative to help at-risk students.† (3) A waiver will be requested to not require districts to obligate 20% of ARRA funds for school choice transportation and supplemental services since it is a duplicate requirement in regular Title I funding. †(4) A waiver is being requested to not require a school and/or district in improvement to set aside 10% of its allocation for professional development since there is a duplicate requirement in regular Title 1 funding.† (5) A waiver is being requested to allow schools in improvement to set aside a proportionate amount of Title I and ARRA Title I funds for professional development instead of setting aside 10% from each fund source.† (6) A waiver regarding the per pupil funding requirement for SES is being requested so that more ARRA funds may be used at the student level.† (7) A waiver is being requested to allow districts and/or schools to exceed the 15% carry forward requirement.† Ms. Hicks explained that ARRA funds cover a period ending in 2011 and therefore districts need to be able to carry forward more than 15% since they will be expending regular Title I funds simultaneously with ARRA Title I funds.† Currently a district may only request one waiver every three years to the 15% requirement.

 

Representative Stevens asked how long present criteria for funding of Title I programs has been in place.† Ms. Hicks replied that the criteria was established in the original legislation enacted during President Lyndon Johnsonís administration and has not been changed.† Representative Stevens said he has some concerns about how the funding is allocated.† Ms. Hicks said that the federal government is getting ready to reauthorize No Child Left Behind so it is a good time to make recommendations and Representative Stevens offered to meet with her to discuss the matter.

 

Senator Givens said that the $155.3 million flowing into the Title I program is a large sum to be expended in the 2009-2011 school years and asked if discussions are occurring about what will occur when those funds have been expended.† Ms. Hicks said the funding will cease on September 30, 2011, and that KDE is providing technical assistance to the districts about allowable uses of ARRA funds and the importance of being realistic in developing efforts that may be sustained.† She said that USDOE is also providing guidance.† Senator Givens asked if the money can be used to make purchases that will have ongoing use at the end of the time period, such as resource materials.† Ms. Hicks said the funding can be used for resource material, as long as it is instructionally focused.

 

Representative Belcher asked for additional information on the transportation waiver.† Ms. Hicks said that schools in improvement must offer school choice and if a parent wishes to exercise that option, the district must transport the student to the school selected by the parent from a list provided by the district.† The legislation currently requires that 20% of the districtís allocation of ARRA funds be set aside for transportation.† If a school goes into Tier II status, then 20% must be aside for transportation for school choice and SES.† Ms. Hicks said regular Title I funds also has the same requirement so KDE is requesting that the districts not be required to also set aside ARRA funds for the same purpose.† Representative Belcher said that the school choice option creates difficulty with transportation and ensuring that the student arrives timely at the school of choice, and Ms. Hicks concurred.†

 

Representative Stone asked if separate assessment or accounting is required for the ARRA Title I funds.† Ms. Hicks said there will be an entirely separate accounting system to track all funds and ensure transparency.† Representative Stone asked if improved student achievement must result from the additional funding.† Ms. Hicks responded that there will be a link although KDE does not yet have all of the details about what will be required.

 

Representative Collins asked if the 15% carryover requirement could result in inappropriate use of funds.† Ms. Hicks said it should not be an issue since extensive planning and monitoring is required and the federal dollars are to be expended over a 27 month grant period.

 

Senator Givens asked how much money Kentucky receives in regular Title I funding.† Ms. Hicks said she was not exactly sure but believed it to be about $230 million annually.

 

Representative Edmonds asked Burley Hudson, Director of District Wide Services, Breathitt County Schools; and Jeff Castle, Director of Curriculum, Franklin County Schools, to provide information regarding their districtís participation in the ARRA funds.

 

Mr. Hudson said that Breathitt County has 2100 students and was in Tier 3 status five years ago but has since come out of consequences due largely in part to efforts undertaken using Title I funds.† He said his district currently receives approximately $1.5 million in regular Title I funds and its ARRA allocation will be nearly $1.3 million.† He said Breathitt County, unlike many districts, currently utilizes Title I funds in all its schools, including the middle and high school, which helped the district to come out of consequences, maintain accountability at all levels, and ensure student achievement.† He said the countyís academic index has improved from 59.4 five years ago to 81, and that the middle school which was ranked in the bottom ten in the state is now probably in the top one-third.† Title I funding allowed the county to add reading and math labs at the high school, Think Link assessment through Discovery Education Assessment in all its schools, and to provide much needed professional development opportunities for the teaching staff.† With regard to planned uses for the ARRA Title I funds, he said the school-based decision making (SBDM) councils have requested additional staff for at risk students and a special teacher at the high school to supplement and upgrade the Arts and Humanities program.† He said the districtís objective is a zero failure rate for the current 9th grade class and the district will continue to evaluate where to expend funds to improve student achievement based in part on the NCLB data to be released later in the month.

 

Mr. Castle said his district utilizes Title I funds to drive improvement and produce positive results for all of Franklin Countyís students and especially those living in poverty, special education students, and English language learners.† He said Franklin County wants to build the capacity of current educators through professional development and literature and through the use of onsite instructional coaches so that progress will continue when the ARRA funds have been expended.† He said the instructional coaches will provide professional development techniques during the school day rather than after school.† He said the ARRA funds will stimulate academic improvement across the districtís schools because all decisions for use of the funds are based on achievement gap data and the needs of all students.† He said since the funding is not a continuing source, the district hopes to find ways to produce desired results without hiring large numbers of additional support staff.† He said the county has also applied for a grant from the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act to help track the progress of the districtís homeless students.† Mr. Castle related that Franklin County has a district wide parent involvement coordinator to encourage parental involvement and support families in need by providing involvement activities in cooperation with the school and family resource center directors.† He said the district will set aside funds for school choice transportation but the majority of funds will be allocated to individual schools so their staff and SBDM councils can use the funds to best meet individual school needs.

 

Representative Stone said Breathitt Countyís funding appears high relative to the enrollment and asked if that is because Title I funding is being used at the high school level or is it because of the poverty rate.† Mr. Hudson responded that the money is allocated to the counties based on the poverty census data and the number of students enrolled in the district that fall in poverty guidelines.† He said that one of the elementary schools has a 92.12% poverty rate and the high school has 76.67% of students eligible for free or reduced lunches.† Ms. Hicks added that the ARRA funds are allocated based on poverty census data only and the number of students receiving free and reduced lunches has nothing to do with how the federal government determines the allocations.† Mr. Hudson said that free and reduced lunch students become relevant once the district receives its allocation.

 

Representative Stone asked how homeless children are identified.† Mr. Hudson responded that it is generally a student who does not have a permanent home at any given time.† Mr. Castle said a student is considered homeless if he or she is living with someone other than a parent and does not have a permanent address.† Representative Stone asked if certain staff is designated to determine whether or not a student is homeless.† Mr. Castle said, until the school year begins and teachers build relationships with students, it is difficult to actually identify truly homeless students.

 

Representative Edmonds asked Mr. Hudson what percentage of students in the Breathitt County schools either live in a single parent home or in a home with someone other than a parent.† Mr. Hudson said, although the figures change daily, at one point 68% of students in the elementary school of which he was principal were not living with both biological parents.† Representative Edmonds said that he wanted the committee to be aware that even though the Breathitt County School System has a small enrollment, many students live in adverse situations.

 

Representative Carney said that the high school at which he teaches has just completed the process to become a Title I eligible school, although the district currently has elementary and middle schools receiving Title I funds.† He asked Mr. Hudson to describe how Breathitt County uses the funds at the high school level and what the long term effect may be of implementing programs without continued funding.† He asked specifically if Title I funds can be used for technology.† Ms. Hicks said the school first has to meet the Commonwealth Accountability and Testing System (CATS) technology requirements before Title I monies can be used to supplement technology needs.† She said approval for funding also depends on the type of program being implemented.† If it is a school wide program, specific students do not have to be identified.† She said a program can be developed based on ten components and includes a needs assessment and information on how at-risk students will be served.† She said if the school desires to implement a targeted assistance program, then they must identify the specific students who would receive the services and those must be the students who are most at-risk of not meeting state standards.† Representative Carney asked if either Franklin County or Breathitt County has supplemented technology through Title I.† Mr. Hudson said Breathitt County has implemented a school-wide program in the high school which has produced positive results and they hope to be able to use funds to provide interactive, intelligent classrooms in every single classroom in the high school by September 2011.† Mr. Hudson said that Breathitt County has already met CATS basic requirements and technology is one of the most sought after expenditures for the ARRA funds and having the infrastructure in place will produce long-lasting results.

 

Representative Carney said it is his understanding that special needs students will no longer be able to take assessments online, even though it has been extremely beneficial for those students.† He asked if the schools could use Title I funds to continue testing those students with online assessments.† Ms. Hicks said although she would need to research the issue to provide a definite answer, she doubted that Title I funds could be used for that purpose.† She recommended that Representative Carney inquire about whether IDEA funds may be available for that purpose.† †Ms. Hicks said if it is in the IEP, Title I funds cannot be used for the assessment but if it is not in the IEP, it may be possible.

 

Representative Webb-Edgington asked Mr. Castle if teachers will be compensated for any additional hours of professional development in which they will be required to participate.† Mr. Castle said it is hoped that the instructional coaches can provide the professional development during the regular school day, but if teachers are required to train after regular school hours, they will receive credit toward their contractual professional development requirement.† If they have already met their PD requirement, they will receive a stipend from a funding source other than Title I funds.

 

Representative Collins said in reference to Mr. Hudsonís comment about continuation of the Arts and Humanities classes even though it is no longer in the accountability index, it was his understanding that all schools are to continue to place a strong emphasis on Arts and Humanities and they will be audited to ensure it is occurring.† Mr. Hudson said that is correct and the program review may even be more stringent than the accountability itself.

 

Representative Edmonds thanked Ms. Hicks, Mr. Hudson, and Mr. Castle for their excellent presentations.

 

Representative Edmonds announced that the next meeting will be held at Northern Kentucky University on September 14, 2009, and Senator McGaha will chair the meeting.

 

There being no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 11:15 AM.