House delays action on private school tax credits, Common Core

Kansas House leaders decided to defer debate on a controversial bill that would expand eligibility and estimate state costs for private school scholarships supported by state income tax credits. Another bill dealing with Common Core academic standards was sent back to committee.

After being scheduled for debate Wednesday morning, HB 2457, the tax credit bill was “passed over” but remains on general orders, when it can be debated any day after notice by House leaders.

KASB testified as an opponent, and has estimated the cost to the state could grow significantly in future years because the bill would make all students currently enrolled in non-public schools who are eligible for free or reduced price meals eligible to receive the tax-subsidized scholarships. Currently, only students enrolled in certain public schools who transfer to private schools are eligible. The bill would allow total tax credits, which reduce income tax receipts, to increase 25 percent per year.

Also this week, the House leaders sent a controversial bill on Common Core standards, HB 2292, back to the House Education Committee, where it may be considered for further amendments.

The bill would direct the Kansas State Board of Education to develop new academic standards by July 1, 2017, that would replace current standards aligned with various standards developed by multi-state organizations and consortia, including the Common Core reading and math standards. It would also require development of new state tests, and prohibit use of advance placement courses and other courses and tests unless they are aligned with the new Kansas standards.

KASB opposed the bill because it would disrupt the current schedule of developing state standards, require developing new state tests after a single year of the most recent assessments in reading and math, and impose restrictions on local district curriculum and assessments.

March 10, 2016