Kentucky Office of Education Accountability investigates Fayette schools over NAACP complaint

Fayette County Public Schools central offices at 701 East Main Street, Lexington.
Fayette County Public Schools central offices at 701 East Main Street, Lexington. Herald-Leader

The Kentucky Office of Education Accountability is investigating a local NAACP complaint about whether Fayette County schools distributed funds according to law and to the lowest-performing schools.

A final report has not been issued, said OEA Acting Director Karen Timmel. "OEA only speaks through its reports," she said.

But Kyna Koch, Fayette's senior director of administrative services, said the district is not waiting on an OEA ruling to set up a training session May 19 for the school board on the money known as Section 7 funds.

The training will be conducted through the Kentucky Association of School Councils, Koch said.

Section 7 funds are distributed based on average daily attendance; student needs identified by school councils; and student needs identified by the board from achievement data in relation to disabled, low income and minority students. Section 7 is just one of many revenue streams with which the district funds its schools.

OEA investigators have visited the district twice in regard to the complaint, Koch said.

She said all of the money in question was being distributed to the district's schools. But Fayette district officials have determined that in some cases, the funds should have been allocated under a different section of the administrative regulation that governs allocations to schools, she said.

The OEA monitors the state's elementary and secondary public education system and investigates allegations.

Even if the OEA doesn't recommend that board members receive training, Koch said, "I think it's a good thing for the board to understand what Section 7 is and how it's supposed to be used so they can get their arms around the issue."

Shambra Mulder, local NAACP Education Committee chair, said her group is "still waiting" for district officials to write policies and procedures to ensure that the Section 7 money is distributed according to the law, and is provided to lowest-performing schools to increase their students' test scores.