Kentucky Board of Education’s special meeting raises serious open meetings questions

The April 17, 2018 special meeting of the Kentucky Board of Education that culminated in the resignation of Commissioner Stephen Pruitt was marred by several open meetings violations. It was not an auspicious beginning for the board’s “different direction.” Some of the violations were indisputable, like the board’s failure to vote on the motion to…

News Alert: Bluegrass Institute Center for Open Government asks court to affirm public access to lawmakers’ meetings

For Immediate Release: Friday, March 23, 2018 (FRANKFORT, Ky.) — The Bluegrass Institute Center for Open Government is asking the Franklin Circuit Court to uphold an attorney general’s decision that a closed meeting of the state House of Representatives at which a taxpayer-funded study of Kentucky’s retirement systems was discussed violated the commonwealth’s Open Meetings…

Curing the winter doldrums: a week-long celebration of sunshine

  Sunday, March 11, marks the first day of Sunshine Week 2018. Each year since 2005, when the week-long event was inaugurated by the  American Society of News Editors, the media, government watchdogs and ordinary citizens have celebrated the importance and impact of open government. The celebration takes various forms across the country — including…

When transparency becomes an inconvenience, legislate!

In October 2017, we reported on a decision issued by the Kentucky attorney general in an open meetings dispute between The State Journal and the Finance and Administration Cabinet. The dispute centered on a State Journal reporter’s unsuccessful attempts to learn the identities of the members of the Capital Plaza Redevelopment Project Built-to-Suit Selection Committee…

Rejecting or respecting the public’s right to know: the KRS pension report versus the House sexual harassment report

On December 1 House leaders released the investigative report into sexual harassment claims against Jeff Hoover and other legislators first brought to the public’s attention one month earlier. The report was prepared at the House’s request by Louisville law firm Middleton and Reutlinger. Owing to the refusal of some legislative staffers to cooperate, and the…

Elementary School KPREP achievement gaps for white minus black scores getting worse

The new KPREP results for the 2017 test administration are now loaded in the Kentucky School Report Cards Database, so I took a look at how the latest elementary school level achievement gaps for white minus black proficiency rates in math and reading look. The simple answer to my question is: very disappointing. In fact,…

How much do taxpayers really spend on education in Kentucky?

And, how does Kentucky’s education spending rank against other states? We hear it all the time. Kentucky’s educators frequently complain that they are not getting enough resources (think dollars) to do their job well. And, we’ve often heard that per pupil funding for education in Kentucky ranks low compared to what other states spend. But…

Will it be strike two for Jefferson County Schools’ Chief Academic Officer manning?

More major problems are brewing for the already beleaguered Jefferson County school system. On April 21, 2017, an online service connected to the Birmingham News newspaper reported that Lisa Herring, the current Chief Academic Officer (CAO) at the Jefferson County Public School District (JCPS), is a finalist to become Birmingham, Alabama’s new school superintendent. So,…