BRADENTON, Fla. - The Kentucky House passed legislation that strengthens financial reporting and educational requirements at the state's 173 public school districts after the state auditor found spending abuses in examinations of some districts.
House Bill 154 was approved on a vote of 58-to-41 on Jan. 29, and next goes to the Senate.
The bill requires certification of Kentucky school finance officers, requires annual finance and ethics training for school board members and superintendents, and requires monthly and yearly financial reports to be posted online for public review.
Superintendents would have to complete at least three hours of annual training in school finance and another three hours in ethics training.
Annual district financial reports must be done within six months of the close of the fiscal year.
The state Department of Education would be required to review each district's financial report and respond to the local board of education with a written report on the financial status of that district within two months.
The bill is in response to the first school district audits ever done by the state auditor's office.
"No previous auditor had ventured into the secondary education realm, which is baffling given that it consumes more state and local tax dollars than any other program and is arguably the most important thing we do as a Commonwealth," state auditor Adam Edelen said in a letter accompanying his biennial report to lawmakers.
Among 14 examinations at public school districts, Edelen said he found hundreds of thousands of dollars in "wasteful" and questionable expenditures.
The Kentucky General Assembly's annual session began Jan. 7 and runs through April 15.