Fayette district warned to support low-achieving schools

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — The Fayette County school district has been issued a warning: Either improve support of low-achieving schools or face state actions.

In a May 14 letter, Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday raised several “causes for alarm” to school board Chairman John Price.

The letter said these issues include “significant” achievement gaps in reading and math between minority, disabled and poor students and other students.

“If district support of low performing schools does not immediately improve, all options must be considered to narrow Fayette County’s significant achievement gaps at the elementary, middle and high school levels,” the letter said.

Also noted in the letter is the district’s lack of support for Bryan Station High School, which has been designated a persistently low-achieving school by the state.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports (http://bit.ly/1AoO1RR) that low-achieving schools became an issue this year as a redistricting committee developed a proposal to redraw school attendance boundaries.

The district is in search of a new superintendent to replace Tom Shelton, who resigned in December. Marlene Helm is serving in the interim.

“The interim superintendent is doing good work in an effort to address these matters,” Holliday wrote. “However, as the local board of education is looking for a new superintendent, this is a perfect time to make all candidates aware of concerns regarding a lack of capacity at the district level.”

In the letter, Holliday says failure to provide a detailed improvement plan to the state by Dec. 1 could result in a comprehensive management audit of the school district.

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Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader, http://www.kentucky.com

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