Vic Hellard, Jr., Director
Legislative Research Commission
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601
Dear Mr. Hellard:
You have written our office regarding an interpretation of the Kentucky school-based
decision making statute KRS 160.345. This statute requires that the SBDM council membership
be composed of the principal or administrator, three teachers and two parents. KRS
160.345(2)(a). Additionally, this statute provides that the principal or head teacher shall be the
chair of this school council. KRS 160.345(2)(b).
You explain that the State Board for Elementary and Secondary Education has recently
approved two alternative models that allow the specific school councils to elect their chairs rather
than requiring the principal or head teacher to serve as a chair.
You question whether the State Board for Elementary and Secondary Education had
authority to approve the alternative models allowing the SBDM Council to elect the chair.
The SBDM statute allows schools which have school-based decision making but would
like to be exempt from the "administrative structure" set forth by KRS 160.345 to develop an
alternative model for implementing school-based decision making. KRS 160.345(7). This
subsection provides in full:
A school that chooses to have school-based decision making but
would like to be exempt from the administrative structure set forth
by this section may develop a model for implementing school-based decision making including, but not limited to, a description
of the membership, organization, duties, and responsibilities of a
school council. The school shall submit the model through the
local board of education to the chief state school officer and the
State Board for Elementary and Secondary Education, which shall
have final authority for approval. The application for approval of
the model shall show evidence that it has been developed by
representatives of the parents, students, certified personnel, and the
administrators of the school and that two-thirds (2/3) of the faculty
have agreed to the model.
It is the opinion of this office that the statutory provision requiring that the principal or
head teacher serve as chair of the school council is part of the administrative structure of the
council and may be altered with the approval of the State Board for Elementary and Secondary
Education. KRS 160.345(7). The role of chair for the school council has no special statutory
duties and is the council member responsible for presiding over the council meetings.. The vote
of the council chair carries no greater weight than any other council member. Of course, the
principal or head teacher continues to remain the "primary administrator" and the "instructional
leader" of the school. KRS 160.345(2)(c).
Accordingly, pursuant to KRS 160.345(7) a school may apply to be exempt from the
SBDM administrative structure to allow the SBDM council to elect any member as a chair by
submitting an administrative model through the appropriate channels to the Chief State School
Officer and the State Board for Elementary and Secondary Education.
Assistant Attorney General