The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents has approved a plan to reduce staff in an effort to reallocate $23 million.
The Richmond school said in a news release Tuesday that the regents approved a combination of layoffs, staff voluntary buyouts and faculty early retirements to achieve its goals. EKU has about 2,100 full-time faculty and staff on its main campus and regional campuses in Corbin, Danville, Manchester and Somerset.
According to the school's website on the staff reductions, the number of layoffs won't be determined until voluntary buyouts are concluded. EKU says it's seen a 15.2% decline in state support over the last five years.
After five years of advocacy, supporters of raising Kentucky's dropout age to 18 celebrated Monday as Gov. Steve Beshear signed the bill into law.
Flanked by House and Senate lawmakers—as well as First Lady Jane Beshear—the governor officially signed the law in a ceremony in his conference room. The bill would make raising the dropout age voluntarily for school districts until 55 percent of all districts made the change. Then it would become mandatory statewide. The legislation is a compromise reached by lawmakers in the 2013 General Assembly session.
Jane Beshear says the fact the five year fight on the issue is over is monumental for education in the Commonwealth.
"And I can't say it's a small step, it's a huge step," she said.
Following multiple investigations of abuse of power and inappropriate spending by school superintendents in Kentucky, the Department of Education is working to improve transparency.
After uncovering cases of fiscal neglect at a handful of districts, state auditor Adam Edelen suggested that information relating to school superintendent compensation, benefits, and yearly evaluations be posted online.
Hiren Desai with the Kentucky Department of Education says school boards will also receive training on best practices for developing superintendent contracts.
“There are a lot of districts who have good templates, but as you know there are a lot of districts who don’t have any templates. They write contracts, as we found through these audits, on napkins and paper towels. So we’re going to stop that practice," said Desai.