House rejects anti-Common Core bill; sends procurement measure back to committee; works on other proposals

The House on Tuesday rejected a bill aimed at repealing Common Core and sent a school district procurement bill back to committee.

Under Substitute for Substitute for House Bill 2292, no curriculum standards could be formed by adopting Common Core standards or any federal education standards as of July 1, 2017.

During a nearly four-hour debate, supporters of the bill accused Common Core standards of being weak, indoctrinating students, and in disfavor with many students’ parents.

But supporters said Common Core provided rigorous standards and replacing them would cost schools millions of dollars and a repeal would hurt Kansas students in their ability to compete with students from other states.

The measure failed to advance on a 44-78 vote.

Earlier, the House sent back to committee a bill that would have the Kansas Department of Administration make agreements on behalf of school districts for the procurement of food and information technology equipment, services and software.

House Bill 2729 was presented as a way to help school districts and the state save money.

But opponents said local school boards and locally elected officials were in the best position to determine the most cost-effective services for their districts. In addition, rural legislators feared that having to make bids through Topeka would hurt their local businesses and economies.

A motion by state Rep. Larry Hibbard, R-Toronto, to send the bill back to committee was approved on a 69-52 vote.

In other developments, the House, 124-1, gave final approval to SB 323, the Jason Flatt Suicide Prevention Act. As amended Monday on the floor, it also included HB 2534, new regulations governing the use of Emergency Safety Intervention.

The original Senate bill is called the Jason Flatt Act after a youth in Tennessee who committed suicide. The Senate had advanced the bill as one that would require school personnel receive one hour of suicide prevention training annually. The House version made it a two-hour requirement.

The House also gave unanimous approval to H Sub for SB 168 on working after retirement. To read the provisions of the bill click here.

KASB worked with USA-Kansas to get the desired outcomes.

In one of the closer votes on Final Action, HB 2724 passed 72-53. The bill was amended yesterday with a provision that is likely to create significant work for KPERS employers, including school districts. Here is the supplemental note that describes the bill and the added amendment:                       

Participating employers, including those in the Kansas Police and Firemen’s Retirement System, would be required to report to KPERS the members’ vacation and sick leave amounts and rates of compensation, as of July 1, 2016, along with any additional information requested by the Executive Director of KPERS. The report would be made to KPERS by September 1, 2016.                 

The last bill that passed on Final Action that affected schools was House Sub for SB 149. It was a tax bill composed of several bills and was approved 122-3. The one that affected schools was the ability to contribute to a specific school district through a tax return check off.

There would be no credit offered to subsidize the donation.

KASB did not testify on the bill, originally HB 2590.

March 23, 2016