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Kentucky superintendents hear about recent budget legislation, summer food program during webcast

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Kentucky superintendents hear about recent budget legislation, summer food program during webcast


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Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) staff discussed budgetary legislation from the 2024 legislative session during the Superintendents Webcast on May 14.

The main budget bill, House Bill 6, included money for school resource officers (SROs): $16.5 million in 2024-2025 and $18 million in 2025-2026. Associate Commissioner Matt Ross in the KDE Office of Finance and Operations said KDE will reimburse school districts up to $20,000 for each campus employing at least one on-site full-time certified school resource officer.

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If funds are insufficient, the money will be divided proportionally through a system Ross said is still being developed by KDE.

Senate Bill (SB) 91 aims to provide relief to districts experiencing real estate growth and a potential cut in funding through the Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) funding formula. Chay Ritter, division director in the KDE Office of Finance and Operations, said KRS 157.360(17) – which is known as the “4% adjusted assessment rule” – already allows for some relief, and SB 91 would be in addition to that relief.

Ritter said the bill is specific to real property assessments only – not the assessment used for SEEK calculations – and multiple qualifying events must occur for a district to qualify. Funds must also be available in the SEEK budget appropriation in order for districts to receive the relief.

To qualify for the 2024-2025 school year, districts and their boards:

  • Must have qualified in 2023-2024 and 2024-2025 for the 4% adjusted assessment;
  • Must levy the 4% tax rate or greater in 2024-2025; and
  • Must have experienced a cumulative growth in real estate assessments from fiscal year 2022-2023 to 2024-2025 of more than 14.4%. KDE will adjust local effort specific to real property for growth above 14.4%.

For the 2025-2026 school year, districts and their boards:

  • Must have qualified in 2024-2025 and 2025-2026 for the 4% adjusted assessment;
  • Must levy the 4% tax rate or greater in 2025-2026; and
  • Must have experienced a cumulative growth in real estate assessments from fiscal year 2022-2023 to 2025-2026 of more than 25.8%. KDE will adjust local effort specific to real property for growth above 25.8%.

Ritter said KDE is working on how the reporting and notification portion of the bill will be conveyed to districts. He expects if a district qualifies for the funding, payment will not occur until the SEEK final calculation that occurs on March 1 each year.

Another piece of legislation, House Bill 727, allows local boards of education to issue general obligation bonds up to 2% of their assessed property value. The bonds must be issued through a competitive solicitation process.

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Ross said KDE is working with the School Facilities Construction Commission and the Kentucky Office of Financial Management on guidance for districts to break down the legislation and its potential pitfalls.

KDE staff has created legislative guidance to help school leaders navigate other recent legislation. Overall legislative guidance for the 2024 Regular Session is now available on the KDE Legislative Guidance webpage. Supplemental guidance is also available for:

Brian Perry, director of government relations for KDE, said there may be additional supplemental guidance coming from KDE.

Summer Electronic Benefits Program

Superintendents heard from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) about the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer (SEBT) program.

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SEBT is a permanent federal child nutrition program offering benefits to students from eligible families to help cover the cost of meals during the summer when schools are not in session.

More than 400,000 students are expected to receive SEBT in 2024. A total of $48 million has been issued in 2024 and each eligible student will receive a summer benefit of $120.

The following students are considered eligible for SEBT benefits:

  • School-aged students (ages 6 to 18 as of Aug. 1, 2023) who have taken part in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Kentucky Transitional Assistance Program (KTAP), and/or Kinship Care for at least one month since July 1, 2023, will automatically receive benefits.
  • Families of school-aged students that do not fall into the above category but are within the guided income eligibility limits, can apply for SEBT benefits online.

CHFS Program Coordinator Jessica Hinkle said district support is critical to get students enrolled. Each school district must compile a file of all enrolled students to the secure SEBT portal starting this month. A specific Excel template will be offered to districts and Hinkle said a training session for SEBT administrators will be offered June 4.

Hinkle said any information on Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer materials that districts have online should be taken down. She also said a media toolkit will be provided to administrators for use on websites, social media platforms, newsletters and other communications.

Administrators should email SEBTschooladmin@ky.gov if they have any SEBT data-related questions.

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In other business, KDE staff updated superintendents on:



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Kentucky

Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival wraps with Queen Coronation

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Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival wraps with Queen Coronation


PINEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) – The 93rd annual Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival (KMLF) hosted its final day in Pineville with a much-anticipated tradition.

The 2024 Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival Queen is University of the Cumberlands Whitney Caldwell.

WYMT Mountain News Weekend Edition newscast at 6 p.m. on Saturday

Universities and Colleges throughout the commonwealth sent young women to represent their institutions with the hope they may bring home the flower crown.

“It’s like you’ve got no words but at the same time you’ve got so many things to say,” said Caldwell.

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Caldwell is now a part of the KMLF history which includes many women before her who held the title as well.

“The women I’ve met that have been queens are people that I can look up to and I hope I can continue that tradition to be someone that young girls that I’ve met or already know that they can look up to me and just be a good role model for those sort of people,” said Caldwell.

Governor Andy Beshear was unable to attend the coronation or the luncheon but sent the Secretary of Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage there to represent the Governor.



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‘Several teams’ have former Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard ranked as top prospect in NBA Draft

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‘Several teams’ have former Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard ranked as top prospect in NBA Draft


Two of the top players in the 2024 NBA Draft had a combined six starts for Kentucky last year. Despite their talent, it could be an argument that Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham were both underutilized.

Now, both are projected to go in the top-10 of the NBA Draft next month.

While the NBA Combine las week wasn’t as helpful for Dillingham, it was another impressive showing for Reed Sheppard.

Sheppard has seen his name anywhere from No. 1 overall to No. 8 — at the lowest. But. he’s consistently around the 3-5 range. However, following the last week of workouts and the combine, ‘several’ NBA teams have graded Sheppard as their best available player, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

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“Sheppard measured a little bigger than expected at 6-3 in shoes while testing a 42-inch vertical leap in Chicago. He also looked like the clear-cut best shooter in the draft every time he had a ball in his hands — both at the combine and his pro day in Los Angeles this week,” Givony wrote. “Several teams have said that Sheppard’s statistical profile — with his incredible scoring efficiency (56% FG%, 52% 3P%, 83% FT%) combined with his excellent steal, block and passing metrics — have him ranked as the No. 1 prospect in their draft models, something that surely has caught the attention of analytically inclined front offices, such as the Houston Rockets.”

Sheppard’s resume speaks for itself and his consistency over the last year has been evident. The one thing you can’t teach is his knockdown shooting ability that is extremely lethal. Becuase of that, Givony doesn’t see Sheppard falling outside of the top-5.

“With the premium that NBA teams are increasingly placing on perimeter shooting, it’s hard to see Sheppard dropping below the top 5, with his fit in San Antonio alongside Victor Wembanyama looking especially strong at the Spurs’ No. 4 pick.”

The NBA Draft is set for June 26-27.



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A Kentucky transfer portal target just committed to a rival

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A Kentucky transfer portal target just committed to a rival


Kentucky’s new head basketball coach, Mark Pope, is almost finished with the 2024-25 roster, but he is looking to add one more guard who can score the basketball. 

The goal was to add former North Florida guard Chaz Lanier to the roster after he took a visit to Kentucky, but on Friday, he committed to play for the Wildcat’s biggest SEC rival, Tennessee. 

Tennessee had more minutes to offer Lanier, but this is a massive loss for the Wildcats as he would have been a perfect final addition to this roster, but now Coach Pope will have to keep looking. 

Coach Pope will turn his attention to former BYU guard Jaxson Robinson, who played for the Wildcat’s new coach last season. Robinson is an elite scorer and is currently still in the NBA Draft. If you are a Kentucky fan, you are hoping Robinson pulls his name out of the draft. If he does this, all signs point to the former BYU Courger following his previous head coach to Lexington. 

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Robinson is an elite scorer who would be the perfect final guard addition to this roster. He is a player who has played a lot of college hoops, so he would fit right into what Coach Pope is building. Robinson can shoot, and that is why he would be a perfect fit for this system. 

Missing on Lanier hurts, especially knowing he is going to a rival, but Coach Pope is going to find a piece to finish this roster, and Big Blue Nation needs to hope it is Robinson. 



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