A consulting firm hired at the direction of Fayette County Superintendent Manny Caulk suggests that the district’s central office be reorganized to support efficient operations, accountability for staff and an effective management approach.
The firm Cross and Joftus found in an audit of district operations that schools have varied approaches to curriculum and instruction, leading to inconsistencies in teaching and learning practices.
Student achievement rates — especially for those with special needs, students with low socioeconomic status and English language learners — are affected by the inconsistencies in curriculum and instruction, the audit also found.
The findings were somewhat similar to those released after the Kentucky Department of Education conducted a district review in March.
The Cross and Joftus report was among several delivered Monday night at a school board meeting by officials from firms that conducted reviews.
Another consulting firm, CMSi, found problems with Fayette’s English Language Learners and Gifted and Talented programs.
Students learning English as a second language need equal access to content and services in Fayette County Public Schools for equity to be realized, the firm said.
Gifted students don’t represent demographics of the Fayette County Public School district as a whole, the report said. Gifted students in various schools don’t have the same access to services.
There also was a recommendation to improve student-teacher ratios for English language learners and gifted students.
Another report from a firm called K12 Insight showed that parents, residents and others who attended district listening sessions were most concerned about equity and equality, teacher quality, class size, instruction time and cafeteria food.
A Kentucky Department of Education audit of career and technical programs said the district should strengthen opportunities for work-based learning experiences.
Caulk, who was hired last summer, said he would incorporate the findings in a plan to be released this week, saying it was all part of “a new beginning and a new path forward for our district.”
In a statement, Caulk said these were the first-ever external reviews commissioned in the Fayette school district to look at the overall organization and structure across 10 domains, as well as audits of the district’s career and technical education program, services offered for students who have special needs, students who are learning English as a second language, or students identified as gifted and talented.
“The reports this evening include qualitative and quantitative data from nationally recognized experts, and collectively provide a road map for student success,” Caulk said.
“You will recall that the board initially agreed to invest $800,000 in this work, but I’m fiscally conservative and ever mindful that we must be frugal stewards of our taxpayers’ investment. I’m pleased to report that we were able to complete this work for less than $400,000, leaving more than $400,000 to invest in the strategies that will be outlined in my superintendent’s entry plan report this week.”