FRANKFORT — The Kentucky Board of Education approved a four-year contract Tuesday for new Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt at an annual salary of $240,000.
"I want people to get tired of hearing how good we are," Pruitt said in an interview about his goals.
It's important, he said, that each student in Kentucky "has the opportunity to do whatever they choose to do after school."
Kentucky's sixth education commissioner, Pruitt starts his job on Oct. 16.
Pruitt is completing his job as senior vice president at Achieve Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit education-reform organization.
Pruitt said he would like to see whether Kentucky's accountability system could be streamlined and made more understandable to the public.
Meanwhile, two associate commissioners told the Herald-Leader that the Kentucky Department of Education pilot to improve student achievement in Fayette County Public Schools is progressing.
The aim is to reduce the number of students who score at the "novice" level instead of the "proficient" level or higher on statewide tests.
"We are in constant contact" with Marlene Helm, Fayette County's acting academic services director, associate commissioner Kelly Foster said.
State officials plan to analyze Fayette County's progress in late October. Fayette County met a 30-day deadline to present an improvement plan to the state and will have 60- and 90-day plans that the state will review.
"We have a great partnership," Foster said.
In other action, the state school board set budget priorities for the General Assembly in 2016.
The Kentucky Department of Education will ask for an additional $7.9 million for career and technical education in 2017 and 2018 each, and for $6 million more in 2017 and $9 million more in 2018 to improve testing for science and social studies. A request for $73.3 million in each of those two years would be made for state-financed preschool for an additional 15,000 4-year-olds.
And instead of the state providing districts with 59 percent of transportation funding, the state would provide 80 percent of transportation funding at a cost of $80 million in each of those two years, under the planned request.
In 2003, the state paid 100 percent of transportation costs, associate commissioner Hiren Desai said, but that dropped to 59 percent in 2015.