Fayette County Public Schools unveils 2024 legislative agenda; vote scheduled for Monday’s board meeting

LEXINGTON, KY — In preparation for the 2024 Regular Session of the Kentucky General Assembly, the Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS) Board of Education will vote Monday on a comprehensive legislative agenda. The strategic priorities outlined seek to navigate the statutory framework established by the General Assembly and address the district’s capacity to fulfill its mission.

The proposed legislative priorities stress key areas, including student achievement, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, as well as stakeholder engagement, outreach, and organizational health and efficiency.

Advocacy for Increased Education Funding

The FCPS has voiced its support for increased overall education funding, particularly in school safety, all-day kindergarten, increased access to pre-school, and additional funds in the SEEK Formula base. The board underscored the importance of early education investment and raised concern about the dwindling proportion of state funds, which have dropped from 55% of the district budget in the FY21 school year to approximately 30% today. This funding gap has placed a growing burden on local taxpayers.

School Choice and Accountability

FCPS opposes legislation proposing a Constitutional Amendment that would divert public funds to private schools, arguing such an initiative would be financially unsound and a diversion from pressing issues facing public schools. Conversely, the board supports increased transparency by requiring homeschool and private school students to participate in state accountability testing.

Addressing Poverty and Community-Level Issues

Recognizing the complex challenges many Kentucky families face, FCPS urges the creation of a Poverty Reduction Task Force. The agenda emphasizes the need to shift the burden of family supports from schools to larger community resources to enable schools to focus on student learning. Additionally, the district supports legislative action to improve the FAIR Team process through increased collaboration between the district and the courts.

Support for Teachers and Staff

The FCPS agenda advocates for legislation that would fund a statewide marketing campaign to highlight the benefits of the teaching profession. It also supports regulatory reform to reduce paperwork and allow educators to focus more on instruction. In response to a growing teacher wage gap, the proposal endorses a student loan forgiveness program for educators who remain in the profession for a certain number of years.

Federal Priorities

At the federal level, FCPS is seeking increased funding for career and technical opportunities through the Carl D. Perkins Act and urging Congress to fully fund the federal share (40%) of special education costs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The district also seeks robust support for English learners, early childhood education, and expanded wraparound services.

The agenda stresses the importance of federal funding for educational technology and internet connectivity (E-Rate), and the investment of federal infrastructure dollars to modernize public school facilities and equipment.

Addressing a nationwide concern, FCPS is advocating for common-sense legislation to address gun violence, which has claimed the lives of many children in Fayette County and the Commonwealth.

Finally, to support educators, the agenda pushes for the expansion of affordable college access and improved retirement security for school employees in Kentucky who are ineligible to receive previously earned Social Security benefits.

The legislative agenda is scheduled to be presented for vote at the Fayette County Board of Education Regular Meeting on Monday.

Photo: Cover page of proposed FCPS 2024 Legislative Agenda. (FCPS)