EDDYVILLE -- As part of a statewide effort to promote superintendents' goals, several area school district superintendents held a press conference Tuesday to address public schools' needs from the state legislature.

The Kentucky Association of School Superintendents (KASS) coordinated meetings across the state - most of them held Tuesday - to announces its agenda. Area superintendents met at the West Kentucky Education Cooperative Conference Center at the Eddyville Mall.

Lyon County Superintendent Russ Tilford, the chair of the WKEC board of directors, led the media conference.

He said he felt like the superintendents have a good rapport with local state representatives.

"I feel like they're working with our best interests," he said, "but I also respect that they've got a tall order ahead of them as far as all the needs across the state.

"As far as the importance of public education, they know the importance, but just to continue to fight for public education is our responsibility as leaders, and we're going to continue to do that."

Tilford said state funding for SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky) was the same dollar amount per pupil this year that it was in 1992, more than a quarter-century ago.

"$2,278 per pupil, and that is the same that it was in 1992," he said. "You'll hear elected officials say they're putting more money into public education than ever, but the reality is - for Lyon County students - they're putting the same amount as they have for the past two decades."

Agenda topics include:

• Educator development and support.

• Building a strong pipeline for professional educators.

• Equitable funding for public education.

• Developing a sound Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System.

• Opposition to any privatization of Kentucky public funding for education.

• A balance in the role of site-based decision-making councils (SBDMC), school boards within the governance model for public education.

• Having the superintendent take a lead role in hiring principals with consultation with the SBDMC.

• Enhance homeschool provider qualifications and eligibility requirements for homeschool students.

• Improve foster children and educational programming between the Department of Community Based Services and schools.

The 2020 state legislative session opens Jan. 7.

The General Assembly will pass a biennial budget for 2021 and 2022 in this session.

"We're always willing to work with all government officials, regardless of their party affiliation or party perspective to advocate for these priorities," said Ballard County Superintendent Casey Allen. "We do this because we recognize that Kentucky's economic, social and cultural success depend on our investment in public schools.

"Simply stated, the quality of our education system is critical to our success as a state."