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Simpson County Board of Education Votes to Reopen Confucius Institute


A south central Kentucky school district has reached an agreement to operate the Confucius Institute formerly based at Western Kentucky University.  The program that promotes Chinese language and culture will be run by the Simpson County school system.

The agreement will allow the Confucius Institute to offer Chinese instruction in 47 K-12 schools in more than a dozen counties in the upcoming academic year.  The deal was reached in the last few days of Dr. Jim Flynn’s tenure as superintendent.  He told WKU Public Radio that the district is a good fit because Simpson County schools has had a long-standing relationship with the Confucius Institute.

"We’ve had the partnership in place for nine years and I know personally a number of students where it had profound impact in the career path they chose," Flynn stated.

Flynn said the Simpson County Board of Education signed off on the agreemennt at a meeting last week.  Part of the deal allowed the transfer of institute assets from WKU, such as vehicles, furniture, instructional materials, and a fund balance of more than $192,000.

The Confucius Institute came to WKU nearly a decade ago, but the school announced in April that it would close the institute.  The school was denied a waiver from federal law that prohibits schools from hosting Confucius Institutes if they receive Department of Defense funding for Chinese language programs.

Terrill Martin was interim director of the Confucius Institute at WKU and will lead the program in Simpson County schools. 

“I feel that Simpson County Schools is the perfect partner,” Martin said in a statement.  “Simpson County was one of the first school districts to partner with the CI at WKU back in 2010. 

The new entity will operate under the name of The Confucius Institute of Western Kentucky.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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