March 11, 2015
Students Continue to Lobby Kentucky Senate to Pass House Bill 236
FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Senate has yet to bring up House Bill 236 for consideration. The bill, drafted by the Prichard Committee Student Voice Team and sponsored by Representative Derrick Graham (D-Frankfort), amends KRS 160.352 to add an optional, peer-elected high school student to superintendent screening committees.
Nicole Fielder, Ashton Bishop, Gentry Fitch, and Hiatt Allen spent the day in the Capitol lobbying to have two unfriendly amendments removed. After hearing that the bill would not be considered on Wednesday, Fielder said “We are glad that the bill was not voted on today. It is our understanding that House Bill 236 can still be heard after conference committees and veto days. We now ask Senate Leadership to bring up a clean version of House Bill 236 during the last two days of this session."
In November, students from the Student Voice Team asked the Fayette County School Board to include a student on the superintendent screening committee. The Board informed the students that a student representative could not be included because of state law and a strict interpretation of it by the Attorney General’s office. The law currently limits the committee to two teachers, one principal, one classified employee, one parent, one board member, and, in some cases, one minority member.
Two weeks ago, the students testified in front of the House Education Committee. The bill was unanimously recommended favorably to the floor. Later that week the House passed HB 236 with a vote of 88 to five. The students testified in front of the Senate Education Committee on Monday. The bill was recommended favorably and only two friendly amendments were proposed. Later that evening, however, the Student Voice Team learned that two additional amendments had been filed. The amendments were considered unfriendly because they added two bills that would not be heard by the House. The students and adult allies have been lobbying to have the amendments removed.
The Kentucky Association of School Councils, Center for Teaching Quality, Hope Street Group, Kentucky Center for Education Policy, Soundout, Inspire Kentucky and Student Voice are among local and national advocacy groups that have formally endorsed the Student Voice Team’s efforts.
The Kentucky Student Voice Team is an independent, youth-led, statewide organization that supports students as research, policy, and advocacy partners to ensure Kentucky’s education system is as equitable, just, and as excellent as it can be. Until 2021, it was part of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, an independent, nonpartisan, citizen-led organization working to improve education in Kentucky—early childhood through postsecondary.