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Senate Approves Schickel Bill to Change How Principals are Hired

Legislation that would place the power of hiring school principals into the hands of their superintendents passed the state Senate on Thursday by a 20-15 vote.

The measure, known as Senate Bill 7, would remove that responsibility from school-based decision making councils. Under SB 7, superintendents would have to only consult with the councils.

“We all know ... the principal is the single biggest factor ... on whether a school is successful or not,” said sponsor Sen. John Schickel (R-Union). “But under our current system, the people we hold accountable – superintendents, the school board members we elect to represent us – do not have the power to hire principals.”

Sen. Reginald Thomas (D-Lexington) stood to explain he was voting “no” but appreciated a provision of SB 7 that would change the membership of councils by adding a parent. That would equalize the number of parents and teachers on councils.

Thomas said the Kentucky Education Reform Act moved the hiring responsibility to the councils because “so many school districts were ripe with nepotism and abuse.”

Schickel has been advocating for the change for five years. He said the uniquely Kentucky way of hiring principals comes as a shock to people not familiar with our public school systems.

SB 7 now goes to the House of Representatives for its consideration.

From the Legislative Research Commission