If a new proposal requested by the State Senate GOP Caucus becomes law, Senate Republicans will be given the freedom to implement one of their education reform ideas in their home school districts.
The chairman and vice-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education are considering a series of pilot projects which will require selected school districts to spend at least 90 percent of their education funding on the classroom, leaving no more than 10 percent for administration.
The 90/10 ratio was proposed by the Senate GOP Caucus and Minority Leader Mark Snyder in a February 24th press release which stated, "This will ensure that 90% of the budget will go into the classroom and not in bureaucrats' pockets."
Senator Cal Hobson and Senator Mike Morgan are ready to act on the request.
"Because Senate Republicans have specifically requested this, it's only appropriate that their home districts be the laboratories for such a reform experiment. It'll be interesting to see how their local schools perform in a pilot project," said Senator Hobson, subcommittee chairman.
Some of the school districts which have been targeted to participate in the Republican pilot project include:
"If we inadvertently left one of the Republican districts off the list, we'll be happy to amend the proposal to include more schools. We don't want to prevent any member of the GOP caucus from participating in this pilot project," said Senator Morgan, subcommittee vice-chairman.
Under the proposed legislation, at least 90 percent of all education dollars received by an individual school district would have to be spent on items and personnel directly related to classroom instruction, such as teachers, teachers' aides and classroom supplies. No more than 10 percent of the budget could be allocated to other purposes.
"I don't anticipate this being an easy or painless process for the pilot schools, but the Republican members have been quite adamant that their schools can do it. I want to give them a chance," said Senator Hobson.
The Lexington legislator, who is in his first year as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, said he wants to be more inclusive in the education reform debate, giving Republican members an opportunity to make a case for their proposals in pilot projects. Earlier this month, for example, the subcommittee advanced the Governor¹s "4x4" program to keep discussions about the controversial initiative alive.
"I think it¹s time that we put some of the Republican education ideas to the test. By limiting them to selected pilot districts, we can protect other schools just in case the proposals don¹t perform as well as advertised. If they are successful, we could eventually implement them statewide," added Senator Morgan.