“The bottom line is, I’m excited about the work that we’re doing, even without the Race to the Top funds,” Hamby said. “It’s important for our kids, and we’re going to continue to move forward with the implementation of Senate Bill 1.”
The purpose of the Race to the Top funding is to fund initiatives of SB 1, including the implementation of common core standards, Hamby said, adding that he is still excited about bringing those new standards to fruition.
Senate Bill 1, Hamby said, is an attempt to improve Kentucky’s curriculum and testing standards and to increase college readiness in students. He said one of the problems was that Kentucky students were doing better on state exams than on the ACT.
The district currently has to pay to have teachers train for the new standards and is having to pay for substitute teachers when those teachers are absent, even though the state is requiring said training, said Hamby, who called it an unfunded mandate.
When asked where the money to implement those standards will come from, Hamby said, “Probably, it’s going to be with the funds we already have through the revenue sources that we have.” He cited, among other things, Support Education Excellence in Kentucky (SEEK) money.
“Basically, it’s going to come from the General Fund,” Hamby added.
Next summer, the district will have to do a lot of work to implement the new standards, as the state will start testing based on those standards in 2012, so teachers and other school officials will have a lot of work to do, Hamby said.
Hamby said that while he has no personal opinion on why Kentucky wasn’t chosen, he’s read that the charter school issue might have played a role.
Race to the Top is a $4.35 billion competitive grant program, designed to reward states that are improving schools in four areas: enhancing standards and assessments; improving the collection and use of data; increasing teacher effectiveness and achieving equity in teacher distribution; and turning around low-performing schools.