Hear From A JCTC Teacher Who Was Laid Off Thursday Thursday, Apr 28 2016 

Over the next few weeks, 34 faculty members and student advisers will be fired from Jefferson Community and Technical College, a campus spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

The layoffs come amid budget cuts and falling enrollment, according to a spokesperson for the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.

The impacted employees will remain on the school’s payroll until the end of June, when the fiscal year ends, according to the spokeswoman.

They’ll also have the chance to enroll in a limited amount of classes next semester.

Lisa Simon learned Thursday morning her position is among those being terminated. For nearly 10 years, she’s taught art and helped students navigate the complexities of transitioning from high school or work to community college, and then into a traditional college.

After getting news of her termination, she still had classes to teach.

Simon stopped by the WFPL studio Thursday to talk about how funding cuts and how instability in the state’s education institutions are impacting students.

Listen to the interview in the audio player above.

University of Louisville tuition increase for next school year capped at 5 percent Thursday, Apr 28 2016 

uofl

The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education has approved limits on tuition increases for public colleges and universities in the next school year, with those at the University on Louisville capped at 5 percent. This move comes after the Kentucky General Assembly passed a budget that cuts appropriations for higher education by 4.5 percent in each of […]

Are Public School Teachers In Louisville Paid Too Much? Wednesday, Apr 27 2016 

Are public school teachers paid too much? What about administrators? Or bus drivers?

A new analysis from Jefferson County Public Schools says the district is paying its employees higher salaries than comparable school systems. It comes almost two years after former state Auditor Adam Edelen found JCPS administrators — many of whom earn six-figure salaries — were paid higher than those in peer districts.

Edelen’s report found big disparities in pay between administrators and instructors, many of whom were forced to pay out-of-pocket for classroom materials.

The former auditor recommended the salary analysis, a draft of which was unveiled Tuesday evening. It found JCPS is paying between $105 million and $119 million more in salaries annually than comparable school districts. That includes teacher salaries, which the analysis says are $8,000 more than peer districts on average.

To save on costs, then, JCPS is expected to recommend to the Board of Education next month a pay freeze for all employees earning more than $14 an hour. The meeting is scheduled for May 10.

That move has rankled teachers, JCPS workers and the unions who represent them.

I spoke with Toni Konz, who covers education for WDRB, about the report – and the fallout around it.

Listen to the conversation in the player above.

On the swift fallout from the potential pay freeze:

“On both sides, you’ve got this rift that’s been created because everybody wants to get a raise, and everybody feels like they do a good job and should be compensated for that. The problem is, now you have this invisible line between above $14 and below $14 [an hour], and these people work together.

“I don’t think any teacher is going to tell you that a secretary shouldn’t make $14 an hour or whatever the comparison salary is. But at the same time, they feel — from what they’ve told me — that they shouldn’t suffer, and that they should also be able to get a raise if they do good work.

“They want to be held accountable, but they also want to be compensated correctly as well.”

Louisville Ky Family support organization receives financial boost Tuesday, Apr 26 2016 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. and TAMPA, Fla., April 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Recognizing that child abuse, neglect and violence are serious and preventable public health issues, WellCare of Kentucky, a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG), gave$3,100 to Family & Children’s Place to support their HANDS (Health Access Nurturing Development Services) program.

The HANDS program, which is expected to support over 800 families this year, provides voluntary in-home visitation for new and expectant parents to foster healthy pregnancy and births; stable child growth and development; safe homes; and self-sufficient families.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, The Economic Burden of Child Maltreatment in the United States and Implications for Prevention, found the total lifetime economic burden, including health care costs, resulting from new cases of child maltreatment in 2008 was approximately $124 billion.

well care

“WellCare’s mission is to enhance our members’ health and quality of life, so it is vital that we invest in programs that focus on supporting healthy families,” said Elizabeth Starr, supervisor of community advocacy, WellCare of Kentucky. “With 98 percent of participating families abuse-free after the first two years, we believe that the Family & Children’s Place HANDS program is making a meaningful difference. We are proud to be a part of its effort to prevent, intervene and treat child abuse and neglect.”

WellCare of Kentucky’s contribution will help fund special events for families to celebrate successes and enable greater participation in the program.

family and children's place

“WellCare is a wonderful partner in our effort to protect children and give them brighter futures,” said JT Henderson, Family & Children’s Place vice president of Philanthropy. “Last year, WellCare helped us create a FIT room where children can engage in fun physical activities to help them through stress from trauma. This new gift gives families a pathway to a healthy, happy and abuse-free life.”

Call the Kentucky Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-752-6200 if you witness or suspect child abuse.

For more information about Family & Children’s Place, visit www.famchildplace.org or call 502-893-3900.

As of Dec. 31, 2015, WellCare serves approximately 440,000 Medicaid members, 8,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and 22,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members in Kentucky. To learn more about how we care for Kentuckians, watch Brandi’s story at http://youtu.be/YwOw5EgeSYo.

About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs. WellCare serves approximately 3.8 million members nationwide as of Dec. 31, 2015. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company’s website at www.wellcare.com or view the company’s videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellCareHealthPlan.

About Family & Children’s Place
Family & Children’s Place works to protect Kentuckian children, families and communities from abuse, neglect and exploitation and, through research-based, trauma-informed services, help them heal. The organization has supported families for more than 130 years and today serves approximately 5,000 children and families annually. For more information about Family and Children’s Place, visit www.famchildplace.org or call 502-893-3900.

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Ky.’s Unprecedented Success In School Funding Is On The Line Tuesday, Apr 26 2016 

The way Daphne Patton remembers it, it was more money than she’d ever seen.

It was 1990, and the Kentucky Supreme Court had declared the state’s school funding system unconstitutional. Within a year, a lot more money started flowing to the poorest school districts, a 50 to 60 percent increase in their budgets.

Patton, an elementary school teacher from Wolfe County in eastern Kentucky, says schools had an abundance of resources, “everything we needed.”

The ruling forced lawmakers to re-imagine how Kentucky would pay for its schools by mandating that they reduce disparities between rich and poor districts.

“The best of the best things happened for our kids,” Patton recalls. “We were able to buy books. We were able to invest in technologies.”

More than a third of people in Wolfe County live in poverty, but the district was able to hire more teachers. Patton says that solution is the kind of thing wealthy school districts take for granted. But this is Appalachia, she adds: Here, education is akin to an escape plan from poverty.

Patton hears this from the parents of her fifth-graders all the time: “I want my kids to do better than I did. They need to find a good job.”

Patton says parents also want to know how they can help. “But the bottom line is, they can’t. I send homework home that parents can’t do.”

Stories like that were commonplace in a district with literacy and high school graduation rates among the lowest in the country.

And that’s what led Wolfe County and 65 other poor districts to file their landmark lawsuit in the mid-1980s.

Before the state’s highest court, they argued that they couldn’t raise enough money locally to pay for good schools. And that, as long as school funding was unequal and subpar, those literacy and graduation rates would never improve.

“I think Kentucky had a moment when it looked in the mirror and we saw that we were achieving at very low levels,” says Brigitte Blom Ramsey. She’s head of the Prichard Committee, an influential nonprofit that lobbies for better schools in Kentucky.

She says the court’s decision in 1990 — a sweeping victory for Wolfe County and the other districts — changed the education landscape throughout the Bluegrass State.

Lawmakers quickly passed legislation that amounted to a complete overhaul of the K-12 system. And by the mid 1990s, it was paying off. Reading and math scores shot up. More students were graduating and going on to college. A lot more.

“What Kentucky did in 26 years’ time,” says Blom Ramsey, “was bring itself up from the very bottom of the barrel in education rankings to the middle of the pack and above.”

Among the most significant of the changes was a new funding formula that guaranteed a minimum amount of money every district would receive from the state every year.

But a funding gap between rich and poor schools remains in Kentucky, in part because lawmakers did not deal with the fundamental imbalance that comes with a reliance on local property taxes.

In a property-poor district like Wolfe County, for example, a 4 percent increase in property taxes generates no more than $20 per student. The exact same increase in Kentucky’s richest district generates more than $450.

So despite all the gains, educators in poor districts still struggle to catch up.

Here’s another obstacle: The Legislature has not approved any significant increases in overall school funding since 2008. So, with the state budget flat, the remaining disparities are now frozen in place.

At Campton Elementary School in the southern part of Wolfe County, the social studies textbooks, for example, are more than 12 years old.

“We’ve got good kids,” says Superintendent Kenny Bell, himself a graduate of Wolfe County High School. “The hope comes from their teachers and staff here who touch their lives, but they do have enormous challenges.”

Right now he’s facing a tough decision: whether to shut down the district’s early college academy. Bell says the district doesn’t have the $40,000 it needs to keep the program alive.

“I feel like our children are being betrayed,” says Bell. Which is exactly what Kentuckians were hearing 26 years ago.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Time is running out for Louisville Ky residents to have their say in arts master plan Monday, Apr 25 2016 

Last Call to Provide Input in Greater Louisville Arts Plan

Online Public Survey Closes April 30th

Louisville, KY (April 25, 2016) – Time is running out for residents of the Greater Louisville Region to take part in an online survey related to the development of a Master Plan for the Arts. The public is encouraged to share their thoughts, hopes and desires for the future of arts and culture in our community through the completion of a short, anonymous online survey, open through midnight on April 30. To take the survey, visit www.greaterlouisvillearts.com.

At this early stage of the planning process, input from the public is critical to ensure the creation of a useful master plan that benefits the entire region. The survey covers topics such as your current level of participation in arts-related events, how you would rate current arts and cultural activities in Greater Louisville, and what you’d like to see here in the future. All comments will be considered and used to identify community priorities, which will inform a plan that represents the diverse perspectives in our community.
 arts master plan timeline
The survey is just one of several public engagement opportunities that are part of the planning process. Most recently, more than 250 people participated in free workshops at the Southwest Regional Library, the Ogle Center in New Albany, Louisville Central Community Center in West Louisville and the Clifton Center, as well as several sector workshops with artists, leaders of arts organizations, educators, tourism professionals, business sector representatives and funders. In a workshop at Atherton High School, seniors who live in neighborhoods across Greater Louisville offered a range of viewpoints.
The master plan and implementation strategy is expected to be finalized by the end of 2016 and will articulate a common platform of goals and strategies aimed at building alignment, leveraging resources, and positioning the Louisville region’s arts and cultural sector to lead and support the community’s overall vision for thefuture.
Questions? Email GreaterLouisvilleArts@gmail.com. For more information or to sign up to receive project news and updates, visit GreaterLouisvilleArts.com. Follow along at Facebook.com/LouisvilleArtsPlan or on Twitter at @LouArtsPlan.

 

The post Time is running out for Louisville Ky residents to have their say in arts master plan appeared first on Louisville KY.

Mentors Make a Difference: Henry Heuser Jr. is committed to expanding educational access through college scholarships Saturday, Apr 23 2016 

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 10.30.31 PM

KET is a proud participant in American Graduate: Let’s Make it Happen, a public media initiative, made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to address the dropout crisis and improve education from early childhood to career. As part of this initiative, KET is spotlighting American Graduate Champions – mentors who devote their time, skills […]

U of L Trustee Bob Hughes speculates that IL reader poll was manipulated to discredit faculty surveys on Ramsey no-confidence vote Friday, Apr 22 2016 

U of L Board of Trustees member and U of L Foundation board chair Bob Hughes, the chief supporter of President James Ramsey

Following an executive committee meeting of the University of Louisville Board of Trustees on Wednesday, trustee Bob Hughes speculated that Insider Louisville’s reader poll on a proposed no-confidence vote on President James Ramsey was manipulated in order to discredit online faculty surveys showing significant lack of confidence in the president. As previously reported, the results […]

Louisville’s JCTC Confirms Staff Layoffs, Reorganization Thursday, Apr 21 2016 

Officials are making clear the scope of layoffs set for staffers at the Jefferson Community and Technical College in Louisville.

WFPL News first reported earlier this week that layoffs were imminent across the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. At the time, a spokeswoman for the community college in downtown Louisville declined to provide specifics about how many jobs would be cut.

Terri Giltner, the spokeswoman for KCTCS, said then that each of the system’s 16 colleges would be responsible for coming up with its own reduction plan.

The plan at Louisville’s community college system will be to terminate 61 positions on June 30, according to a news release issued Thursday. The school said it was part of an ongoing reorganization that would include administrative and faculty positions in the future.

Staffers are being notified of the layoffs today, and affected employees are getting a 60-day notice. They’ll be kept on payroll until the end of the fiscal year and will get the chance to enroll in six credit hours of classes through the fall, in addition to “other support,” according to the release.

Layoffs have also began at the community college system’s Elizabethtown campus, according to an earlier report from WAVE-3 news.

Giltner earlier this week said the layoffs across the system are due to a recent 4.5 percent cut in state appropriations, coupled with years of persistent funding cuts and dwindling enrollment.

At Jefferson Community and Technical College, enrollment is down to about 11,000 from a peak of 15,000, according to the school. This drop hits the college hard, as nearly 75 percent of the system’s budget comes from tuition.

Improving enrollment is a priority for college officials, they said Thursday. A formal groundbreaking for a new KCTCS advanced manufacturing and IT center in Carrollton is set for April 22.

Guest Commentary: UofL President James Ramsey should resign for the good of the city Thursday, Apr 21 2016 

President James Ramsey at the March board meeting of the University of Louisville Foundation

By Michael Brown | UofL Law Student I won’t attempt to convince anyone that my words should influence him or her as much as those of Dr. Hiram Polk, a man who in 1971 was the youngest chair of surgery in the United States. Nor can I fathom what must simultaneously be his pride and […]

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