By Tom Latek
A bill to give high school students a chance to have a do-over for this school year because of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, cleared its first legislative hurdle on Thursday.
The Senate Education Committee gave unanimous approval to Senate Bill 128, sponsored by Sen. Max Wise, R-Campbellsville, to give a “mulligan” to students affected by virtual learning during the pandemic.
“Our school systems have tried desperately, parents have tried desperately, students have tried desperately to do whatever it takes,” he told the panel. “I think SB 128 is a ‘now’ bill. I think it’s an opportunity bill; I think it’s an academic first bill. It provides opportunities for students who would want to have a supplemental year, as a do-over, if they wish to come back and repeat a grade.”
Students in K-12 could take advantage of the do-over bill during the 2021-2022 school year. “A re-take of any course would not count as an additional credit toward graduation, unless the student fails the original course,” Wise said.
There would also be an extra year for student-athletes to compete, he said. “The KHSAA shall allow a 20-21 high school student a fifth consecutive year of eligibility at the same school, but the participation age limit of being no older than 19 years old that’s currently in place, will stay in its original place. Also, no transfer regulations are waived.”
Students and families who want to take advantage of the do-over year would have until May 1 to submit a request to the local school district. By June 1, school boards would accept all or none of the applications. By June 16, the districts would have to submit their plans for waivers to the Kentucky Department of Education.
Will Hodges, the Green County Schools Superintendent, said he thought the number of students who might apply for the do-over year would be between three and ten percent of those in grades 9-12. “I think the impact on the budget would be minimal, but what it does for children would be great.”
The bill passed 12-0 and now heads to the full House.