Redo year on the table for students, district

SB128 allows district to approve one retake year for students who apply

Eric Inda

Known as the “redo bill,” Senate Bill 128, which would allow students in Kentucky to retake their current grade level should the local school board approve, was signed into law on Mar. 24.

The supplemental year would give students an opportunity to complete anything they may have missed out on due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as athletics, extracurriculars, homecoming and more.

Until May 1, students can apply to redo their current grade for the next school year, and each school district’s board will have until June 1 to determine whether or not they accept all requests to redo the school year or none, and they cannot make an individual decision for each student.

A district email was sent to parents on April 7 that went over many of the things that should be considered along with a caution about applying for the redo year.

“Educational research indicates a repeated school year is not a best practice, and in fact, is a leading indicator for an increased dropout rate,” the email reads. “However, in rare situations, a grade level retention may be warranted as supported by both the school and parents.”

The email summarized that the Boone County School District was willing to carry out what was needed to help students catch up such as adjusting the curriculum if necessary, even if the student didn’t take the supplemental year being offered.

“The Boone County School District will address unfinished learning from the 2020-2021 school year by assessing students against priority learning standards, adjusting curriculum timelines as necessary, (and) providing intervention/remediation through summer programming,” the e-mail states. “We will be meeting students wherever they are in their learning during the 2021-2022 school year, by developing a learning plan for each student.”

A student who already graduated and chose to enroll in a supplemental year is not defined as a high school student for scholarships, meaning that they are not eligible for Dual Credit or Work Ready Dual Credit scholarships for the next school year.

Junior Katie Webb believed that the Boone County School District being given the option to accept or deny all redo requests doesn’t make sense.

“I think the school district should accept or deny requests on a case by case basis because every student is different,” she said.

Some students still support the bill because they believe it will have a positive impact.

“They should accept the requests because some students didn’t learn enough to move on,” junior Sophia Pile said.

Any retaken courses will not count towards graduation requirements unless the student failed the course the first time they took it.

Senator Max Wise, the sponsor of this bill, told reporters that this bill would provide flexibility and innovation for school districts that are trying to implement this.

“This bill does not allow 19 and 20-year-old students to be in the hallways of high schools and on a football field, on a basketball court for any type of advantage,” Wise said.

Should a student be granted a redo year, they will be eligible for athletics their senior year only if they are still 18 on Aug. 1.

In terms of being able to get a fifth year of athletic eligibility, some students believed that it could bring an unfair advantage to the field.

“I think it is unfair to the underclassmen,” junior Sydney Whitford said, “They might’ve had a chance to make a varsity team with the upperclassmen leaving, but now they might have to stay on a JV team and try to improve their skills.”

State representative and former Boone County School Board member Ed Massey did not respond to requests for comments on this bill.