School-Based Decision Making Councils

  • COVID-19 response

    Public meetings:

    The Kentucky Department of Education reminds SBDM coordinators that KRS 61.826 was amended in 2018 to allow public agencies to conduct any meeting, including a closed meeting, through video teleconference. On March 18, 2020, state Attorney General Daniel Cameron provided guidance on whether they must identify a primary physical location for such meetings per KRS 61.840 during the state of emergency. The opinion, OAG 20-05, finds public agencies are not required to identify a primary physical location for video teleconference meetings given the urgent need for social distancing during the public health crisis. However, while the state of emergency is in effect, agencies are required to identify a website, television station, or other means that the public can access to view the meeting. The opinion notes that public agencies must continue to provide critical services during the emergency declaration and are required to conduct public business in open meetings and permit news media coverage of all meetings. However, providing a physical location for such meetings is not feasible given public health recommendations and guidelines for COVID-19. 

    Template for special called SBDM virtual meeting & Recommended setup for public Zoom meetings

    SBDM council elections

    KDE maintains it is the intent of KRS 160.345 that SBDM voting be done in person, but believes that giving local leaders the flexibility to administer electronic voting is justified given the current state of emergency.

    Election guidelines from KDE & How to set up an online election

    About SBDM

    The School-Based Decision Making Council model was introduced alongside the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA) in the 1990s. It is designed to promote shared leadership among those working closely with students: administrators, teachers, and parents. A council's primary responsibility is to promote student achievement, which should be echoed in every decision and policy. 

    As the governing body for a school, the SBDM council determines curriculum, staffing, discipline, scheduling, instructional practices, extra-curricular activities, and other matters pertinent to the operation. The council must set school policy to provide an environment to enhance student achievement and help the school reach its accountability goals. To meet this responsibility, councils should:  

    • Decide targets for closing achievement gaps;
    • Determine the professional learning plan for the school;
    • Meet monthly and comply with the Open Meetings and Open Records Act;
    • Consult on vacancies (principal, classified, and certified positions); and
    • Write and review policies.

    Member training

    SBDM Portal


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