Calling for a "change in culture," Kentucky Board of Education members voted unanimously Friday for a state takeover of Menifee County Schools, a district with about 1,100 students in Frenchburg.
The district has been under state assistance since December 2014 after a management audit found a significant lack of effectiveness in governance of the school district, including finances and instruction.
Menifee County will join the Breathitt County school district in being managed by the state.
That means the state education commissioner, instead of the local school board and superintendent, will exercise complete control of all aspects of the management of the district.
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And it means "there is going to be a change in culture," state board chairman Roger Marcum said.
"We are a wonderful school district with wonderful kids and wonderful staff. We just need help," Menifee school board chairman April Smith told state school board members who had called a special meeting.
The Menifee school board voted not to contest the decision, but board member Leanne Reed told state officials that she didn't agree with the takeover.
Neither does Superintendent Benny Patrick, who assumed his role in 2014, but both said they would cooperate with the Kentucky Department of Education.
Under state assistance, the Education Department worked on a plan to correct deficiencies found in the audit, but state officials said the Menifee district didn't adequately address problems, and on some fronts, things had gotten worse.
State officials found evidence that unqualified people were hired for positions, the district had only one maintenance employee, and the district failed to maintain equipment to safely transport children.
Kentucky education department staff said there had been morale problems and fear of retribution in the school district.
Menifee teachers had expressed concerns to state officials about the poor state of buildings, budget, staffing and academic integrity.
Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday made the recommendation to the state board for a takeover in June.
Issues in Danville
Also at Friday's meeting, the board put Danville Independent Schools on probation as a District of Innovation for not carrying out its approved plan.
State school board members said they thought the problem was a result of many changes in leadership, including the superintendent. They said they thought Danville had a shared vision with state officials.
Under the District of Innovation program, Kentucky public school districts apply to the Kentucky Board of Education to be exempt from administrative regulations and statutory provisions, and they waive local board policy in an effort to improve learning.
Under former superintendent Carmen Coleman, Danville received national attention as a district of innovation in 2013-14.
But under a new superintendent in 2014-15, there had not been progress, according to state documents.
Superintendent Keith Look, who took the job in July 2014, said district officials were committed to continuing as a district of innovation.
As part of a corrective action plan, staff from the state will conduct face-to-face quarterly monitoring meetings with Danville Independent officials.