Kentucky Senate passes bill allowing students an extra year of eligibility


HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – Another year in class for Kentucky students is making its way through the state legislature, but with conditions.

The state Senate unanimously passed a bi-partisan proposal to allow any student K-12 an extra year of eligibility in education and athletics.

“So many kids have missed out on precious learning days during this year,” said Kentucky Sen. Robby Mills, (R-Henderson). “We would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t take into account the social repercussions these shutdowns have had.” 

Senate Bill 128 would allow any student to apply for an extra year in light of the pandemic. However, if students would retake a course, it would not count towards graduation,  unless the student failed the original course.

“Parents are just concerned about their children learning, they want their kids to get back to five days a week in school which allows parents to get back to work and they are also just really concerned about the educational part of getting kids back to school,” Sen. Mills said. “Many students have missed out on their high points of their high school careers and senior year and this just gives them an opportunity to repeat that senior year.” 

Sen. Mills said the pandemic has left students with major setbacks.

“To allow them another year of cheerleading or playing football or basketball or something of that nature and it allows them to do that,” Sen. Mills said. 

Mills said this bill allows students who may have fallen behind to build up their GPA or other test scores, but he says it’s still unclear what the cost will be for each school district.

If approved, students would be able to compete in athletics at the same school for another year. 

In Owensboro, school officials said they have concerns and several questions that still need to be answered.

“Hopefully a lot of our students feel like they have gotten the education they need to move onto the next level,” Owensboro Public Schools Public Information Officer Jared Revlett said. “When we have more students who are deciding to stay another year, for whatever reason and then it kind of backlogs everyone and there’s more students in the building that could lead to potentially more teachers having to be hired.”

Revlett also said some other unforeseen costs could add up that are not necessarily seen on the face of the bill that could come up in the next school year.

Local school boards would be responsible for regulating the proposal. 

“There’s that crucial line in the bill that says the school board has to either approve all of them or none of them,” Revlett said. “It’s tricky when you have to allow them all or some of them, so we need to wait and see what the demand is for the district.”  

If approved, students would have until May 1 to request another year. The bill now heads to the House.

(This story was originally published on March 3, 2021)

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