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Shelby County School Board: SCPS receives ‘perfect’ audit

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Neihof asks board to consider readiness goal of 24 on ACT

By Todd Martin

The Shelby County Board of Education received a perfect audit report during its meeting Thursday at Collins High School.

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Mike Jones of Mather & Co. CPAs in Louisville said it was the first time in his 15 years of doing audits that he finished one that had no material weaknesses, no significant deficiencies and no other comments.

“This is extremely rare,” he said. “I think the district and all employees should be proud.”

The only recommendation that Jones could give would be to double check.

“At the end of the year, you may want to go over your allocations and allotments,” he said. “That way, if you decide you want to move something, you can. You can’t go back and move it in an audit. But that’s not anything that’s wrong, it’s just sound financial business.”

Jones also noted that the district is in “better financial shape that many districts that we [Mather & Co.] do.”

Superintendent’s report

The board received a preview of what to expect in the coming months from Superintendent James Neihof. Those upcoming items are:

  • A report in December on the new accountability system along with a better idea of the K-PREP test, which will replace the KCCT tests this year.
  • Also next month, Assistant Superintendent Lisa Smith will have a report, along with parents, students and teachers, on the first semester of the Accelerated Academy.
  • A report in January showing how schools, administration and teachers use the electronic data boards, which track students through several different measures.
  • A late-January update on the district’s progress with the board goals and work on new goals in March.
  • Also in March there will be a report on collaborative scoring.

State’s NCLB waiver request

Neihof also told the board that the state’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver request has been submitted and received by the federal government.

“By January, we should have an answer, and it would go into affect immediately,” he said.

The waiver asks that Kentucky’s growth model be an acceptable replacement for the pass/fail model of NCLB’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

“This year about 10 percent of Kentucky’s schools made AYP,” Neihof said. “Under the change, the calculation would be scored on a curve based on Kentucky’s new K-PREP test. A 90 percent and higher score would be distinguished; a 70 to 89 percent would be proficient and a 69 percent and below would be needs improvement. That will be the scoring for the first year. After that, any school in Needs Improvement that scores 2 percent better would be classified as Progressive.”

The waiver also requests more flexibility in how districts can spend federal funding, he said.

College and career readiness

Neihof asked the board to consider adding a feature to the college and career readiness goal that the district has set.

“The two flagship public universities in our state — the universities of Kentucky and Louisville — both require a 24 on the ACT,” he said. “I’d like the board to consider adding that tour our long-range Big Goal for college ready students.”

Both student members of the board agreed.

“I know other students that have met all the college ready benchmarks, but they can’t make a 24 on the ACT, so they can’t get into college,” Ashley Zepeda said.

The question about measuring career-ready students was also posed by board member Doug Butler.

“That’s something we’re going to need to work on,” Neihof said. “But our challenge will be to make sure that it is just as demanding as a 24 on the ACT.”

Host school presentation

The board heard a presentation from the Collins Co-ed Y club, which will be sending students to the Senior Kentucky Youth Assembly and Kentucky United Nations Assembly.

Students described the youth assembly process and the roles they would fill as bill writers, lobbyists, sponsors and delegates.

The two bills the group has written to take to the conference are about Personhood — defining the term and in turn, attaching rights at conception — and Rachel’s Challenge — making it mandatory for all of Kentucky’s elementary and middle schools go through the Rachel’s Challenge anti-bullying program each year.

The school’s culinary arts program also provided the board members with drinks and snacks for the meeting.

Also at the meeting, the board approved:

  • A budget amendment that added extra pay for teachers working overtime on parent/teacher conferences. The item was inadvertently left off the original budget.
  • A technology offer of assistance.
  • The addition of an East Middle Parent/Teacher/Student organization.
  • Non-resident 2012-2013 contracts for outgoing students to Frankfort Independent, Jefferson County and Bullitt County.
  • Applying for the Alpha Iota ADK Schoolhouse Fund Grant.
  • Intent to apply for grants for the SCPS daycare programs.