FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - State lawmakers on Thursday debated a bill that some believe could hurt public education and pave the way for charter schools.
All Senate Democrats on the Senate Education Committee voted against the bill, and some voiced their concerns about it. It dealt with the powers and makeup of the School Based Decision Making teams, which help guide policy decisions at schools with local input.
Changes would equalize the number of parent and teacher representatives on SBDMs, cutting teacher numbers from three to two to match parents.
Proponents said they hope that will increase participation among parents who would no longer be the minority of the group. But critics said they’d rather see an additional parent member added to the board to equalize things.
“This bill does weaken significantly, in my opinion, school councils because the most important decision you can make as a parent is, No. 1, who’s going to be your education leader -- i.e. the principal -- and 2, who is going to teach your child?” asked Sen. Reginald Thomas, D-Fayette.
Added Eric Kennedy, of the Kentucky School Board Association: “Far from removing local control and far from silencing parent voice, this actually empowers parents. We have a significant challenge in many parts of the state to get parents interested in running and serving on a school site-based council.”
The powers to select a principal would fall under the superintendent in the proposed bill. The KEA spoke out against cutting teachers from the boards, but supported adding other school employees to them. At the end of hearing, SB 3 was passed out of the committee and moved to the floor.