Fayette County Board of Education approves tentative budget

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Fayette County Board of Education unanimously approved a $492 million tentative budget, according to the school district.

Below is a news release from Fayette County Public Schools:

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On the heels of receiving assurance from the Kentucky Department of Education that the school district is on the right track, the Fayette County Board of Education unanimously approved a 2017-18 tentative budget that includes significant investments to ensure that a student’s demography does not determine his or her destiny.

“Developing a school district budget goes beyond juggling numbers to balance revenue and expenses,” said Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk. “The budget is a reflection of our community’s hopes, dreams and values about the future, about our children and the possibility of a better tomorrow. Our budget for 2017-18 invests in our children and values our employees by reallocating existing funds, tapping into grant funding and dedicating new revenue.”

The district’s general fund budget is roughly $492 million.

“Before the Kentucky Department of Education associate commissioner who delivered our most recent District Diagnostic Review left, she said the district should ‘celebrate the successes and keep on trucking,’” Caulk said. “With that in mind, the 2017-18 tentative budget is aligned to the five Imperatives for Excellence outlined in our 2017 Strategic Plan as well as the five improvement priorities identified by the Kentucky Department of Education in its review.”

The budget includes $4 million to pay for salary increases for all employees on top of the mid-year increases of.5 percent for salaried employees and .75 percent for hourly employees the board approved in December.

“These investments maintain Fayette County’s market competitiveness when compared with surrounding counties and municipalities,” Caulk said.

The budget includes all of the improvements established during the 2016-17 school year in the Blueprint for Student Success, such as college and career coaches, PSAT testing for ninth and tenth graders, the purchase of an English language arts curriculum that will put $6.4 million worth of resources directly into the hands of students and teachers, a year-long induction program for new teachers, additional leadership development for principals, learning guides for families, Family University, Give 10 and annual surveys of staff, students and families. The district has also allocated money to cover required increases in employee benefits and utility costs, as well as the added cost of opening a new high school.

Highlights of new investments include:
-Additional reading and math intervention teachers.

-More teachers to serve students with special needs, students whose home language is not English, and students who have been identified as gifted and talented. This is in addition to the teachers added during the 2016-17 school year to work with students in these areas of focus.

-Professional learning to support teachers in grades K-12 with the implementation of the new English language arts curriculum.

-Five Chromebook carts with 35 Chromebooks each for student use at each high school.

-A comprehensive math curriculum used in the nation’s top school districts in Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra II and piloting a curriculum for elementary and middle schools.

-Increasing support and personnel for schools implementing academies in partnership with Commerce Lexington and the Business Education Network

-Professional service contracts to provide expanded mental health services and supports for students.

-Expanding special programs for students by proposing a dropout and reengagement academy to create an alternate pathway to college and career readiness for non-traditional students and proposing a newcomer academy to support students whose home language is not English and whose schooling has been interrupted.

-Investments in improved data systems, including publicly available data dashboards, early warning indicator systems, an app that helps track and measure student development of workplace skills, and measures to collect data on our graduates as they transition beyond high school.

-District office restructuring to respond to state review calling for efficient and consistent support, supervision, monitoring, shared accountability and equity.

-One additional flexible staff development day for certified teaching staff.

-Piloting a recruitment and attendance incentive program for bus drivers in partnership with the Fayette County Education Support Professionals Association.

-Continuing partnership with Fayette County Education Association to support new teachers through the New Teacher Induction program and to increase the number of Nationally Board Certified Teachers.

-Continuing partnership with Fayette County Association of School Administrators to provide professional learning in line with the National Institute for School Leaders for school principals with less than three years of experience.

“I believe these are the right investments based on our strategic plan, based on the areas of improvement identified in the district diagnostic review and based on where we want to go as a district,” Caulk said. “We are creating a culture where excellence is the expectation and equity is at the heart of our work.”

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.