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Money for a new Model Laboratory School at EKU included in the state budget

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Stu Johnson
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Model Laboratory School

The state budget approved by the Kentucky General Assembly includes $90 million to construct a new Model Laboratory School in Richmond. The budget will not be finalized until the legislature considers any vetoes by Governor Beshear in mid-April. This funding is expected to remain in the final document.

Model provides a teaching environment for education majors at Eastern Kentucky University. Model Superintendent John Williamson said the state is wrestling with a teacher shortage. He said College of Education enrollment at every postsecondary institution in Kentucky has been down the last five years, mirroring a national trend.

“So, I would expect that most school leaders and administrators will have a very difficult time filling all the positions that are available this fall and that will just become more exacerbated in the next couple of years. So, the sooner we can get ahead of this, the better we will all be,” said Williamson.

Plans call for moving the early childhood education program into the new facility. Williamson said student capacity is expected to grow from about 700 to 1000 in the new Model school. The Model administrator noted the academic offerings at the lab school are structured differently than some public schools.

“We’ve moved to a model where we focus on skills, competencies, and they demonstrate that through learning projects and tasks. So, they still do have courses you would see in other public schools. They are titled differently and they’re more interdisciplinary,” said Williamson

Williamson said planning and design for the new K-12 school is expected next year. If all goes according to plan, students could be entering a new school in the fall of 2025.

More with Model Lab School Superintendent John Williamson:

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Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 30 years.
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