The Paducah Independent School District Board voted Monday to make several changes to its policies, including several that were made by the Kentucky legislature in its session earlier this year.
The policies were coordinated by the Kentucky School Boards Association for its member districts.
Changes to district board policies include:
• Banning harassment or discrimination against "limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth or similar medical conditions" in the district's programs, activities or employment.
• Providing the granting of waivers and exemptions from selected state administrative regulations when the district is named a District of Innovation and for named Schools of Innovation (charter schools) to be able to gain waivers of district board policies. Changes also include provisions for schools to determine if they want to be Schools of Innovation. A 70 percent vote by the school's site-based decision-making council is required.
• Requiring the national motto "In God we trust" to be posted in a prominent place in each school.
• Revising the process for filling a vacancy on the district board through an application process within 60 days of the vacancy. If the vacancy is not filled in that time, the commissioner of the Department of Education would fill the vacancy within the next 60 days.
• Establishing a policy for school resource officers, the appointment of a district-level school safety coordinator and an annual risk assessment and adopting a school emergency plan.
• Requiring parents serving on a site-based decision-making council to pass a clear child abuse or neglect check.
• Allowing the board to request medical information only necessary to make a decision on leaves of absence.
• Banning the use of tobacco products, alternative tobacco products or vapor products on school grounds, at school activities or in school vehicles.
• Requiring at least one hour of training for active shooter situations for district employees whose job duties require direct contact with students. Also requiring an hour of training in suicide prevention training for employees working with students in grades 6 through 12.
• Detailing the investment of excess funds and proper acceptance of gifts or donations.
• Adjusted graduation requirements for students beginning ninth grade this school year.
"The Kentucky School Board Association's legal department will go through the new legislation and propose adjustments to board to accept," said Superintendent Donald Shively. "There were lots of changes that just went through (the legislature), but specifically, the impact of Senate Bill 1 relative to school safety, how that's addressed, was one of the major themes of the update."
Senate Bill 1 (also called the School Safety and Resiliency Act), passed earlier this year, provided for improvements to school safety, including more requirements for school resource officers, developing district safety coordinator and teacher training and preparation.
The board also voted to appoint Lisa Chappell of the superintendent's office the board secretary, Paducah Revenue Manager Angela Copeland the district treasurer and Nicholas Holland as board attorney of record, all for Fiscal Year 2019-20.
The board approved an interagency agreement with Easterseals West Kentucky and its Community Work Transition Program for students with disabilities for the 2019-20 school year.