In the 1990 legislative session, the Kentucky legislature passed HB 940, which is best known as the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA). Essentially, this piece of legislation changed the face of education in Kentucky from curriculum to finance. One drastic change that came with KERA was how governance was handled, and the introduction of school-based decision making councils by KRS 160.345.
School councils promote shared leadership among those who are close to the students. Membership of each council includes parents, teachers and an administrator of the school. The council has the responsibillity to set school policy and make decisions outlined in statute which shall provide an environment to enhance student achievement and help meet the goals established in KRS 158.645 and 158.6451.
Making decisions through shared decision making results in a greater commitment to implementing decisions that will enhance the achievement of students.
SBDM PARENT REPRESENTATIVES
The definition of parent allows biological parents, stepparents, foster parents, or persons who have court ordered legal custody to be nominated or to vote in parent elections at a school where the child is pre-registered [KRS 160.345(1)(d) and (2)]. According to the statute, parents who are nominated or who wish to vote must have a child "pre-registered to attend" the school for next year.
Parent school council members cannot be employed in or be related to someone who is employed in the school or in the district administrative offices. Attorney General's Opinion 90-102 states that "relative" as used in this section should have the same definition found in KRS 160.180 and KRS 160.380. This definition of relative includes "father, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife, son, daughter, aunt, uncle, son-in-law or daughter-in-law" of someone who works at the school or in the district administrative offices. Parent members cannot be a board member or a board member’s spouse, nor can they have a business interest in the school.
SBDM PARENT ELECTION PROCESS
Parents must be elected by the parents of students pre-registered to attend the school during the term of office. The election is to be conducted by the parent and teacher organization, or largest group of parents formed for the purpose of parent elections. Election by plurality (most votes by the top two candidates) is all that is required for parent elections. Parent groups conducting the parent elections should establish written procedures for their elections, and then follow those procedures.
SBDM Parent Representative Training
Each year, Bullitt County Public Schools offers, free of charge, training for each member of SBDM. A 6 hour new member training as well as a 3 hour experienced member training is available.
Background Records Check
In accordance with KRS 160.380(10), “A school-based decision-making council parent, as defined under KRS 160.345, shall submit to a state and national fingerprint-supported criminal history background check”. This process is for both returning/new members as well as employees of BCPS. There is no charge for this process.
Child Abuse/Neglect Check
CA/N Checks are required for public school employees, student teachers, contractors and School-Based-Decision-Making Council Members. These are processed through the Cabinet for Health and Family Services by submitting a DPP-156 Central Registry Check request. The Records Management Section responds to requests and can be contacted at (502) 564-3834.
ADDITIONAL SBDM INFORMATION
Kentucky Department of Education
Kentucky Association of School Administrators