Teachers concerned proposed SBDM amendment will be slipped into student prayer bill

Teachers keeping an eye on language in SDBM bill

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Last year’s unprecedented sickouts, in protest of the Kentucky legislature, have grown more common.

The stripping of a sewer bill to add in completely different language about teacher pensions is part of what kicked it all off in 2018.

This year, some demonstrators are concerned that the legislative process will be thrown to the wind again.

An amendment to a school day of prayer bill was filed a week ago. It wasn’t about school prayer though, and some are speaking out against it Friday.

JCTA President Brent McKim said his group is against the proposed amendment. He said the language within it is similar to what was in Senate Bill 250.

A Dear JCPS Facebook post Friday details an amendment proposed to House Bill 166.

It has distilled the protesters’ biggest concern over Senate Bill 250, regarding the power of Site-Based Decision Making councils to select principals, down to one paragraph.

“What are we going to limit that superintendent to?” said Ashley Tackett Laferty, D-Martin. “Would there be some sort of good cause? Or he just has the final say?”

Teachers filled a committee room Wednesday in protest of language that would allow superintendents to pick school principals if they didn’t agree with the SBDM choices.

That hearing was for SB 250, sponsored by Julie Raque Adams, which she said would help JCPS avoid a state takeover, allowing for more flexibility to assist failing schools.

“We do have those instances in a school district that’s over 100,000 kids and 160 schools where it may be appropriate for the superintendent to have that final say,” Raque Adams said.

Language in the HB 166 amendment filed by Sen. John Schickel lays out a similar power, which may upset protesters.

“If you’re having trouble putting something through, you’ll see it put on something more popular -- let’s not do that,” Sen. Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey said. “Its too late in the session for that.”

McGarvey said it’s hard to tell if the amendment will be brought for a vote.

What may be easier to predict, though, is that if it is, teachers will be watching, and as Raque Adams said herself, when talking about SB 250, trust may be on the line.

“There is a dramatic lack of trust between the educational community and members of the General Assembly,” Raque Adams said.

She followed that statement by saying she didn’t have an agenda to target educators with bills they oppose.

The amendment would have to be voted in by the Senate. HB 166 has received two readings and already passed the House.

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