Bill allowing extra year of school clears Kentucky Senate

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky students could apply for an extra year to retake courses under a bill passed by the state Senate on Tuesday in response to the pandemic-related disruptions on schools.

The measure, which now goes to the House, would allow requests that K-12 students be given a “supplemental school year” to retake or supplement courses or grade levels. It comes after educational struggles to cope with COVID-19, resulting in widespread use of virtual instruction.

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The bill would allow Kentucky’s local school boards to establish a temporary program for graduated seniors wishing to take the supplemental year of high school in the next academic year.

“Does this bill solve all the problems? No. But it gives an option and it gives a choice … for those that feel like they could benefit from coming back,” said Republican Sen. Max Wise, the bill’s lead sponsor.

The measure also could result in students receiving an extra year of eligibility to compete in athletics at the same school, if they meet current age requirements.

The bill won bipartisan praise while sailing through the Senate on a 36-0 vote.

Under the proposal, the decision whether to give students the supplemental year would be left up to local school boards. But the decision would have to apply uniformly for all requests.

“It’s an all or none,” said Wise, chairman of the Senate Education Committee. “We’re not going to pick and choose which students can benefit off this and which cannot.”

If the bill becomes law, students would have until May 1 to request a supplemental year. The measure sets a June 1 deadline for local school boards to decide whether to accept all or none of the requests. Districts accepting the requests would have to submit their plans to the state by June 16 on how they would provide the supplemental instruction.

For high school students, retaking a course would not count as additional credit toward graduation, unless the students failed the course the first time.

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The legislation is Senate Bill 128.

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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.