A wooden plaque with the national motto "In God We Trust" hangs in the Elkhorn Middle School cafeteria. Kentucky passed a later earlier this year that says the motto must be displayed prominently in public schools. (Photo by McKenna Horsley)

In compliance with a recently passed state law, Frankfort and Franklin County school districts are taking different approaches to displaying signs with the United States motto, “In God We Trust.” 

The law, which is KRS 158.195 and was House Bill 46, requires Kentucky school boards to require all public middle and secondary schools to display the national motto “in a prominent location,” such as an entryway, cafeteria or common area, so students can see the motto. 

School districts must comply with the law beginning with the 2019-20 school year, the law says. Gov. Matt Bevin signed the bill on March 25.

Frankfort Independent Schools Superintendent Houston Barber said the district will have a “friendly competition” between students to make signs with the motto, as a way to highlight student art. The school district wanted to have participation from its students in the creation of the sign and make it the way they wanted it. He said that the competition will be held in the next month or so. 

“We wanted to make sure there was student involvement,” Barber said. 

Franklin County Schools decided to buy plaques that say “In God We Trust” to hang in all schools and the central office. Superintendent Mark Kopp said the district got a deal from Curtiss Trophy & Engraving on the signs and wanted to have something that would last for a while, unlike paper. Kopp said the signs are in places that are main gathering areas of the school.

The law was an unfunded mandate, meaning that the state did not provide funding to schools in order to comply with the law, thus FCS bought the plaques from its own funds. According to the purchase order for the plaques, the total price was $630, or $45 per plaque, which is 10 inches by 13 inches. 

“It’s the law and because it is, we went ahead and complied with the law, like any other law,” Kopp said.

Other school districts in Kentucky have come up with plans to display the motto that are similar to FIS and FCS, according to reports from The Associated Press. Last week, Fayette County Schools made headlines when it chose to display the motto by hanging framed copies of the back of a $1 bill in schools

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