District realignment bill may be dead for session, but other key education measures in play

House Education Chairman Ron Highland, R-Wamego has said his committee will not consider further this session House Bill 2504, which would reduce the number of school districts in Kansas to 132 from 286.

But two other key bills are still being considered by the Education Committee.

House Bill 2457, which would expand a program that allows tax credits to pay for private school tuition, is on the committee’s agenda for today for discussion and possible action. Here is a link to KASB testimony opposed to the bill.

And HB 2486, which would reduce state assistance for local bond issues, was removed from the committee’s agenda for Monday, but the chairman has indicated that bill remains alive for consideration. Here is a link to KASB testimony on the bill.

On the district realignment bill, supporters said it would save $173 million over 10 years and improve school efficiency.

Opponents questioned the savings and said the bill would disrupt education and communities by closing schools and reducing local control.

Dozens of school leaders statewide testified against the bill. KASB also opposed the bill.

Even should the bill remain dormant for the session, key legislators have indicated an interest in pursuing consolidation of services and reducing administrative expenses.

February 8, 2016