TheEducation Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee met on Tuesday, June 13, 2006, at<MeetTime> 9:30 AM, in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Jack Westwood, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Guests: Mr. Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators.
LRC Staff: Sandy Deaton, Audrey Carr, Jonathan Lowe, Janet Stevens, and Lisa Moore.
Senator Westwood asked for a motion to approve the minutes of the February 10, 2006 meeting. Representative Rasche made the motion, seconded by Senator Winters.
The motion was approved by voice vote.
Senator Westwood said the committee would review administrative regulation 703 KAR 5:010 - Writing Portfolio Procedures. He introduced Mr. Kevin Noland, Ms. Cherry Boyles, Branch Manager of Language Arts, and Ms. Starr Lewis, Associate Commissioner, Office of Teaching and Learning, Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), who presented the specifics of the administrative regulation with a PowerPoint presentation.
Mr. Noland said the administrative regulation establishes procedures and standards to help schools allocate an appropriate use of time to the development of a writing portfolio; determine the components of a writing program at the school and district level; incorporate appropriate writing instruction across grade levels and content areas; and establish the writing portfolio program design and scoring parameters for the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS). The proposed amendment provides teachers, schools, and districts greater specificity regarding permissible activities, appropriate use of time, and writing instruction in the development of a writing portfolio. He also mentioned that the Legislative Research Committee (LRC) Program Review and Investigations subcommittee did a study of CATS and many of its recommendations are included in the proposed amendments to the administrative regulation.
Ms. Boyles explained the changes to the writing portfolio. She said that it specifically limits the time spent on a single portfolio entry, limits the number of revisions, and collects entries at different grade levels.
Ms. Boyles said that the KDE worked with over 1,400 cluster leaders and discussed all the groups consulted in proposing the recommended changes. Cluster leaders are teachers identified by principals as writing leaders in the schools. She said the major areas of revision included the organization, clarification of language, research-based instruction, and alignment to new assessment requirements, and she discussed each area in detail. This information can be obtained from the handout in the subcommittee folder in the LRC library.
Ms. Boyles highlighted the fact that beginning with the 2007 CATS assessment, a four piece portfolio shall be produced in 12th grade, a three piece portfolio shall be produced in 7th grade, and a three piece portfolio shall be produced in 4th grade. She also noted that the bulk of the administrative regulation deals with portfolio writing more than on-demand writing.
Senator Winters asked how many teachers and administrators were consulted and the process used for selecting them. Ms. Boyles said she was not sure about how many, but explained the process and the opportunities for teachers to be involved. She said the KDE has presented at language arts, reading, principal, and administrator conferences throughout the state to inform and recruit teachers. She said there was also a survey mailed out from the KDE regarding writing questions for assessment and instruction, and received 10,000 responses from educators across the state. She does not know the breakdown of how many responses were from administrators or teachers, but she can find out and get the information back to the committee. In addition, Ms. Boyles mentioned the electronic communication with the network of cluster leaders across the state as well as face-to-face meetings. Teachers and administrators who served on the Kentucky Board of Education's (KBE) writing focus group were also involved in meetings.
Senator Winters expressed concern that not enough input from people not directly involved in the process was solicited. He asked Ms. Boyles if she felt they received adequate input from these entities not directly affected by the writing portfolios. Ms. Boyles said the administrative regulation was available for public hearings and public comments although no comments were received regarding the regulation. It was reviewed in various subcommittee meetings over time, and the local superintendents advisory council shared the administrative regulation with their teachers throughout the schools.
Senator Winters asked if the revised changes to the writing portfolio would be implemented into the school system this fall. Ms. Boyles said part of it has already been introduced. There is training occurring this summer for cluster leaders, and a meeting in September with the district assessment coordinators from all across Kentucky to carefully organize the components of the writing portfolio changes, particularly the scoring component.
Senator Winters asked if the KDE would do a follow-up survey towards the end of next year to see how teachers and administrators reacted to the changes in the writing portfolio system. Ms. Boyles said the writing advisory committee, which is composed of about seventy teachers across all different grade levels and content areas, recommended conducting a survey to the schools after the first round of analytical scoring was completed. She also said the National Technical Advisory Panel for Assessment and Accountability (NTAPAA) recommended another study in the fall of 2006 to analyze the data based on where discrepancies may appear in the scoring process.
Senator Winters said the committee is very supportive of ensuring that Kentucky students can write. If students cannot read and write, it spells big trouble for the future of our state. He is very interested in hearing from the public both the positive and negative responses to the upcoming changes in the writing portfolio system.
Representative Rasche asked Ms. Boyles to define transactional writing. Ms. Boyles said transactive writing is a term from Mr. James Britton, a researcher in literacy instruction, and it means "writing to get something done." It is writing that informs, persuades, or creates transaction between a writer and a larger group.
Representative Rasche asked what metacognitive skills are. Ms. Boyles said metacognitive skills are the skills that people develop over time that gives people the ability to think about their own thought processes.
Senator Westwood is concerned with the latest trend of students using shorthand in e-mail messages and instant messaging. Are these popular forms of communication hurting students' writing skills? Ms. Boyles said there is no evidence of this right now.
Senator Westwood asked if the total number of writing portfolio entries was reduced from 14 to 10. Ms. Boyles said that was correct for the total number cut across all grade levels. He asked if this reduction was going to impact the cost and the time required teachers to grade the tests. Ms. Boyles said there should be a reduction in the time, but in changing the scoring process, it initially will require more time in training and support. After the analytical scoring process is in place, there should be a reduction in time in the scoring process both at the local level and state audits. Mr. Noland said he did not know if it would reduce cost, but he will find out and get the information back.
Representative Draud said Kentucky has been successful because of the emphasis it has placed on student writing. He is glad that changes have been made to the writing portfolio, but the core concepts are still in place.
Senator Westwood asked for a motion to adopt administrative regulation 703 KAR 5:010. Representative Draud made the motion to accept the regulation, and Representation Marzian seconded the motion. The motion was approved by voice vote.
Senator Westwood asked Dr. Joann Ewalt, Research Division Manager and Ms. Pam Young, Financial Analyst, Office of Education Accountability (OEA) to present a status report on school district efficiency and effectiveness indicators. The 2005 budget language directed the OEA to conduct an inventory and assessment of indicators that could be used to evaluate school districts' efficient and effective use of funding.
Dr. Ewalt discussed the reason to study education efficiency. She explained the questions that guide efficiency research and the definitions of efficiency. She said there is no consistency about the efficiency or effectiveness of education expenditures. Researchers do not agree on the efficiency and effectiveness of spending. Some say schools are operated inefficiently and that increased funding does not improve student performance. Others argue that targeted funding increases in smaller class size, teacher quality, and curriculum enhancements do improve performance, but do not address efficiency.
Dr. Ewalt said researchers do agree on the need for better spending data. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) collects data and surveys and directs state education agencies to record expenditures using specific fund, object, function, program, and instructional level codes. She said current spending excludes: capital outlay; debt service; expenditures that last over one year, expenses outside of K-12, and total spending. The current spending categories are instruction, instructional support, and non-instruction.
Dr. Ewalt defined instruction and non-instruction. Non-instruction consists primarily of food service. Other expenditure functions considered as instruction are: regular classroom instruction; home and hospital instruction; expelled and suspended instruction; other instruction such as co-curricular and athletic instruction, field trips, special education and early childhood education; Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC) and safe schools. Instructional support expenditures include: student support services; instructional staff support; district and school administrative support, business support services, plant operations and maintenance, student transportation, and highly skilled educators.
Dr. Ewalt said current spending at the national level is at 86 percent of total spending. Instruction counts for 52 percent, instructional support is 34 percent, and non-instruction is 5 percent of current expenditures.
Dr. Ewalt said a study of efficiency must begin with accurate data. There are several data discrepancy issues such as: coding errors; disagreement about what should be considered instructional expenditures; and possible confusion about distinctions between instruction and instructional support services.
Dr. Ewalt said that First Class Education, an education advocacy organization, advocates state policy requiring schools to use 65 percent of their operating budget on instruction. Proponents say this would boost classroom resources without more taxes, cut administrative waste, increase accountability, and improve student performance by emphasizing classroom activity. Critics argue that it would not improve student performance and would cut important services elsewhere, while limiting local autonomy.
Dr. Ewalt said Kentucky's current expenditures include 59 percent for instruction, 34 percent for instructional support, and 7 percent in non-instruction. Kentucky spends 83 percent of the national average on per-pupil spending. The United States average is $8,287 and Kentucky spends $6,888 per pupil and is ranked 39th in the country. She noted that "Governing" magazine ranked Kentucky last in per capita spending. There is actually no clear consensus on where Kentucky ranks. It basically depends upon who is reporting the information and what variables were used to calculate it.
There are several issues to consider when ranking the states. Some of these include: ranking state policy with a positive or negative "weight"; measuring performance without including spending; complex methods to create indexes; substantial data manipulation; significant missing data problems; and inappropriate data and standardization methods.
Dr. Ewalt discussed the state education efficiency reviews. Its purpose is to identify potential savings through operations and facility improvements. Its goal is to save money and redirect savings to classroom instruction.
The first state education review was conducted in Texas in 1991. It reported a net savings of $141 million from 1991 through 2003. The reviews were then implemented in Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Dr. Ewalt explained the efficiency reviews in Texas and Virginia in detail. The specifics are in the meeting folder located in the LRC library.
Dr. Ewalt explained Standard and Poor's (S&P) method of calculating a return on spending index or the RoSI. She noted this is only one method and others methods will be introduced for calculating the RoSI at a later time. Kentucky's 2004 RoSI score was 7.8. Cross-state comparisons are not advised, and comparisons of districts and RoSI scores are possible, but it is best to compare among similar peers.
Senator Kelly asked Dr. Ewalt if she any adjusted data. She said no, but she would provide it to him.
Senator Westwood asked if S&P used the Commonwealth Testing Accountability System (CATS) assessment for data. He said the validity and efficiency by using CATS is that Kentucky can only compare results across Kentucky. He thinks S&P should use the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) test in order to compare Kentucky's efficiency against the rest of the country.
Ms. Ewalt said it would be possible for S&P to use the NAEP, but she said the reason for their focus on a state-specific assessment is two-fold. The first reason being that customized tests are the major testing instruments for all states, and while the NAEP tests attempt to show comparisons across states, the state assessments tests are much more specific to what is actually occurring in Kentucky's classrooms.
Senator Westwood sees the benefit of being able to show how efficient Kentucky is compared to contiguous states. Dr. Ewalt said some larger studies do compare data across states, but most studies keep data comparisons within states because of the problem of knowing if the data is comparable across states.
Representative Draud agrees with Senator Westwood that data comparisons across states is very important, but the problem with these efficiency studies is that the data is not the same across states. Dr. Ewalt said that is what the OEA found in doing this research. She also said coding just between the school districts in Kentucky can make comparisons difficult, so when other states are added, the problem is compounded. Representative Draud agreed.
Senator Kelly commented on how little can be gained from reviewing these rankings. When spending cost per pupil is compared with Kentucky's cost of living or teacher salaries are compared to California, whose cost of living is much higher, Kentucky teachers could be making more money as far as disposable income and what they can purchase with those dollars. He said it is also difficult to compare averages within the state across school districts, and would like Dr. Ewalt to try to look at cost of living and try to get a grasp on some bright spots in Kentucky that may have been overlooked. He said Kentucky is 19th in spending per $1,000 of income for teacher salaries, and if this is compared to cost of living, this may be a pretty interesting statistic. He said Kentucky is also ranked 12th in teacher salary growth and asked if that statistic took into account legislation passed in the 2006 regular session. Dr. Ewalt said it did not. He said both of the numbers should be pushed up dramatically in Kentucky and he does not understand why "Governing" magazine ranks Kentucky as 50th in the nation. Finally, he would like a clearer picture of how Kentucky is doing regarding resources for instruction, and look at it regionally.
Representative Draud said there are many studies that indicate that there is not any correlation with expenditure per pupil and achievement. He asked if there have been any studies to show if there is a correlation between decreasing spending per pupil and how this impacts achievement.
Dr. Ewalt said most research looks at levels of funding per pupil and ties it to performance. She is not aware of any research that specifically earmarked those districts that cut funding or maintained a certain level of funding and student achievement.
Dr. Ewalt said the next steps for analyzing efficiency requires an accurate evaluation of what school districts are spending in instruction, instructional support and non-instruction. She said the next section of OEA's study will report on Kentucky's total and current spending, and will review concerns about data accuracy. The final section will examine the two methods that are currently used to examine efficiency. It will discuss best practices for indicator systems and inventory financial, academic, and other indicators that can be used for efficiency and effectiveness assessment. She will also provide examples of assessment approaches.
Representative Marzian asked if the millions of dollars that Texas saved using the state education efficiency review were put back in the instruction side, or cut out of the education budget. Dr. Ewalt said Texas and Virginia utilized the savings and put the money back in the system for instruction.
Representative Draud said the information for chapter three could prove to be very valuable information, but asked if the KDE already has some data on best practices in some of the areas. Dr. Ewalt said the KDE does have data on total and current spending, but the inventory is to find variables that other states may use that Kentucky does not have.
Representative Draud asked Dr. Ewalt what she thought would be most helpful out of all this information. What can come out of this study that is pragmatic and have an impact on education in Kentucky? Dr. Ewalt said that the goal is to provide the indicators and ways to use them for two primary purposes: 1) provide more information about state education efficiency reviews, which have proven beneficial in other states in helping school districts become operationally more efficient; and 2) provide a method that could be used to look at spending in Kentucky. She said a continuous problem is cost differences around the state and not having a measure that adjusts for differences and costs around the state.
Representative Draud said 75 percent of the education budget is personnel related, if you add 10 percent for fixed costs, there is very little discretionary money left. He noted the only way to reduce expenditures, is to reduce personnel, and it has to be weighed if that will be more efficient in terms of helping to improve achievement.
Representative Moberly asked if Kentucky's scholastic audits will overlap with the efficiency assessment as Kentucky is already measuring some of those things. Dr. Ewalt said the audits look for certain indicators that eventually get to efficiency.
Representative Moberly said it all seems to tie back to the Assistance to Schools subcommittee, which met for the first time on June 12, 2006. He said Kentucky needs to determine what efficiency indicators it wants to study in addition to the scholastic audits, and what to do to assist schools that are not doing as well as they should. He feels this study has come at a good time and should be correlated with the work on the Subcommittee on Assistance to Schools.
Senator Westwood discussed clarifying the definitions of what is instructional and what is non-instructional. He said it is interesting that the only item categorized in Kentucky as non-instructional is food services. Why would a cafeteria worker be considered non-instructional, but a janitor be considered instructional support. He said it may make sense to have everything in a school either considered instructional or instructional support.
Dr. Ewalt said it does get complicated. Even the 65 percent initiative supported by First Class Education faces a conflict as this advocacy group wants states to use the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) definition of instruction, but wants NCES to change its definition of instruction to include some instructional support categories. Texas has just moved to include some instructional support categories in its definition of instruction.
Senator Westwood asked if 65 was a magic number of an operating budget to spend on instruction. Dr. Ewalt said research indicates that there is no magic behind the 65 percent. She said a positive aspect is that people are asking what is happening in the classroom. There is a conflict in the research right now, and S&P has not taken a position on the issue. They will provide an outline for states detailing a plan for them to utilize 65 percent of their operating budget for instruction. Senator Westwood said it will force states to look at the amount that goes to instruction versus administrative costs.
Dr. Ewalt presented the 2005 school finance report with a Power Point presentation. She said the OEA was mandated through KRS 7.410 to analyze the level of equity achieved by the Support Educational Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding system, and whether adequate funds are available to all school districts. Since 1990, the OEA has conducted reviews of school finance issues, primarily focusing on the level of equity achieved by the funding system.
Dr. Ewalt said the OEA has monitored the equity gap by analyzing per pupil revenues in wealth quintiles. The wealth quintiles were established by ranking school districts from lowest to highest by their per pupil local property assessments. Five groups are formed with each containing approximately one-fifth of the state's students, and quintile 1 contains the districts with the lowest property wealth per pupil, and quintile 5 contains the districts with the highest property wealth per pupil.
Dr. Ewalt discussed the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) funding components. She said the General Assembly set the guaranteed base at $3,191 per pupil in 2004, and raised the base to $3,240 in fiscal year 2005.
Dr. Ewalt discussed a line graph that showed local and state education revenues from 1990 to 2005, that showed changes over time, but does not quantify changes in equity over time. The equity gap is defined as the difference between the per pupil revenue in quintile 5 and all other quintiles' revenue. The detailed information is in the handout located in the subcommittee folder in the LRC library. In fiscal year 1990, the equity gap was $5,352 per pupil, and in fiscal year 2005, the equity gap was $4,231 per pupil. From 1990 to 2005, the equity gap has been reduced by 21 percent. Also from 1990 to 2005, the inflation-adjusted equity gap has been reduced by 48 percent.
Dr. Ewalt discussed sources of local revenues. These include: 1) property taxes: real (land, buildings/improvements); and tangible (business equipment and inventory); 2) motor vehicle taxes: motor vehicles, watercraft, and aircraft; 3) permissive taxes: utility, occupational, and excise taxes.
Dr. Ewalt said local per-pupil revenue grew the most in quintile 5, and the least in quintile 1 in terms of actual dollars. When revenues have not been adjusted for inflation, quintile 1 shows the greatest change in the rate of growth of revenues at 273 percent, and quintile grew by 132 percent. After adjusting for inflation, revenues are flatter and rate of growth is reduced.
Dr. Ewalt discussed what impacts the equity of local revenue. These are: intertwining tax laws such as the Kentucky Education on Reform Act (KERA) and HB 44; permissive taxes; districts being unable to levy the four percent tax rate; tier II revenues that are not equalized by the state; growth nickels and the recallable nickel; property assessment growth and SEEK; and in lieu of taxes.
Dr. Ewalt explained the property assessment growth and the SEEK formula. When districts collect more in local taxes, state SEEK funding decreases. If property assessments grow 4 percent, state SEEK funding is reduced by 4 percent. She said some districts' property assessments grow by more than four percent a year, but property tax collections are limited to four percent growth under HB 44. The SEEK formula determines local funding based on property assessments, and not on how much local tax is actually collected. Dr. Ewalt gave demonstrations of several different scenarios of property assessment growth and the SEEK formula.
Dr. Ewalt discussed what impacts the equity of local revenue. She said not all property in a district is subject to taxation, and this occurs when the property is owned by a state or federal agencies, which are exempt from taxation, or private businesses that have been given tax waivers. In some instances, the corporate and government entities make voluntary payments to districts. These payments are not included in the SEEK calculation because the properties are not on the tax rolls. In fiscal year 2005, 75 districts received a total of $20.2 million in lieu of taxes, and receipts range from a low of $387, or 13 cents per-pupil in Letcher County to a high of $5.6 million, or $1,240 per-pupil in Muhlenberg County. These revenues can be fairly substantial for some districts.
Dr. Ewalt said there are a number of factors that can impact equity of state revenues as well. These are: the hold harmless provision; growth nickel equalization; special legislative projects; state funds distributed outside the SEEK formula such as for Extended School Services, Family Resource and Youth Service Centers, professional development, preschool, and technology. In 2005, on-behalf-of payments, which is when the state makes payments on behalf of personnel in the school districts such as paying teacher retirement benefits and health and life insurance, totaled over $660 million. These funds impact wealth quintiles differently. Quintiles 1 through 4 received between 23 to 30 percent more in per-pupil revenue when adding on-behalf-of payments, and quintile 5 received 41 percent in additional revenue.
Dr. Ewalt said federal revenue grew the most in the lowest wealth quintile, increasing $939 per pupil form fiscal year 1990 to fiscal year 2005. She said federal revenue grew the lest in quintile 4, increasing $411 per pupil form fiscal year 1990 to fiscal year 2005. When federal revenue is included, the equity gap improved by 16 percent in nominal dollars, and 44 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars from 1990 through 2005.
Dr. Ewalt said members received a written report which analyzes several measures of equity. She concluded that there are fluctuations in equity and this has widened the gap between fiscal year 1998 and fiscal year 2002. She said the equity gap has steadily decreased from fiscal year 2003-2005, and the equity gap is narrower in all post-KERA years than in fiscal year 1990.
Senator Kelly asked if Kentucky was ranked third in the nation in improving equity, and Dr. Ewalt said agreed. He said the high growth areas are complaining that their growth does not necessarily result in new revenue, and results in a reduction in state revenues. He thinks Kentucky should be seeing equity narrowing more than it is.
Dr. Ewalt said there are a combination of factors in terms of local and state revenue that do hamper equity efforts. She said the written report provided in the meeting folders covers these areas in detail. There are several ways districts can levy local taxes either through the KERA provision or HB 44. In the earlier days right after KERA, Kentucky saw the impact of this more substantially than it is seen today. She also said permissive taxes is another area which are more important for some districts than others. Districts that do not have a large industrial or corporate base have a hard time levying four percent. The SEEK formula anomaly also impacts a number of districts. She said the data shows the enormous effect of the legislation to reform education and the improvements that have been made in equity over time.
Senator Kelly does not understand the relationship between capital construction of buildings to equity. He said there are high growth areas that need considerable investment in capital in order to provide space, and if there is a huge investment in capital construction just to provide a place for the learning to take place, there is no disequalizing investment compared to a low growth area that does not need to make the investment in order to have the space. He asked Dr. Ewalt if Kentucky's equity analyses includes capital construction or not.
Dr. Ewalt said the School Facilities Construction Commission (SFCC) funding has not been included until now. She asked if it should be included for future reports. Senator Kelly said it probably should not. He said a considerable amount of money has been invested in these poor districts that do not have much growth. He said it is so hard to measure equity with so many differences within the school districts.
Representative Draud asked if the illustration for the SEEK formula was based on real property alone and no other property. Dr. Ewalt said they were simplified scenarios using hypothetical data. She said the scenario is based on local revenue and does not include permissive taxes.
Representative Draud said this is very complicated and varies by school district on how permissive taxes affects it. He asked if anybody was working on finding solutions to the problems with the SEEK formula. Dr. Ewalt said the KDE is expecting to receive a report on SEEK at the end of June 2006 from Dr. John Augenblick, national consultant.
Representative Draud asked should we be proud of how Kentucky is coming along in equity. Dr. Ewalt said yes, Kentucky was ranked third in making progress in equity. He also asked why there was a reverse in 1998 in equity. Dr. Ewalt said the data showed a combination of low growth of state funding and that lower growth affecting the quintiles differently. Quintile 5 received more state funding in those years, and the lower quintiles received less. When there is less funding available, it hurts the lower quintiles and thus equity was reduced.
Representative Moberly said there is a mechanism in growth districts to raise more than four percent, and this is a local decision as long as they abide by the provisions of HB 44. He would like this fact that is in statute to be included in the report.
Representative Draud said some districts have tremendous growth. He asked if it were true that there is no reason to raise taxes to take advantage of the growth because they lose so much state money.
Ms. Young said when property assessment increases, SEEK money decreases. If taxes increase, state funds do not diminish. Dr. Ewalt said it depends if the school districts are above or below Tier 1. Districts above Tier 1 will gain more in revenue than they will lose in SEEK funding, and districts that are below the maximum Tier 1 lose more in SEEK than they gain in revenue.
Senator Westwood introduced Ms. Marcia Seiler, Director, OEA, to discuss suggested future study topics. Ms. Seiler said the OEA will prepare a list of research topics and present to the co-chairs for the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee (EAARS). After the research topics are selected, a detailed workplan will follow and be presented to the EAARS.
Ms. Seiler mentioned that the OEA wants to start compiling studies and rankings that Kentucky receives from "Education Week", "Quality Counts", NCES, and S&P and pull the results into one document to explain the rankings and to determine where Kentucky really is so lawmakers are informed to make decisions. She said this would be a yearly report.
Senator Westwood encouraged members to give the co-chairs ideas of possible topics for the OEA to study. He asked Ms. Seiler if a study has been completed on testing ethics. Ms. Seiler said the KDE has an investigative panel in place to look at testing violations. If there are findings of wrongdoing, they are forwarded to the Educational Professional Standards Board (EPSB), and then forwarded on to the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE).
Senator Kelly said SB 130 provides a new direction in assessment. He asked Ms. Seiler to review SB 130 to possibly find some research ideas, and Ms. Seiler agreed to do so.
Ms. Patty Wallace, citizen of Lawrence County, asked to be recognized from the audience. She was curious if the subcommittee members had had a chance to review the report that the OEA wrote for Lawrence County. She said the corruption in Lawrence County is overwhelming and she asked for some accountability. She is afraid that Mr. Gene Wilhoit, Commissioner, KDE, will present new changes in the school district, but nothing will really change. She said the children deserve better, and Lawrence County needs new blood in the people running the school system.
Senator Westwood said they have been following the situation in Lawrence County for several years. He understands she is a concerned citizen and wants the best for the school system. He has heard from other people in the area that have a completely different story, but are just as equally displeased with the outcome of the study and the investigation. He said if neither side is happy, it is probably getting close to what needs to be done. He encouraged Ms. Wallace to voice her complaint to the KDE.
Representative Draud said if the people in Lawrence County are not happy with the situation then they should remove the local board of education people. He said it is the board of education staff that is accountable. She said people are driving people around and getting them to vote for certain candidates. Senator Westwood said voter fraud reports should be directed to Mr. Trey Grayson, Secretary of State.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 12:00 p.m.