Comments for KASB News Conference

Amy Martin, President

Kansas Association of School Boards

Olathe USD 233

September 15, 2016

On behalf of the Olathe Public Schools Board of Education and Dr. Patricia All, welcome to the Olathe Advanced Technical Center. My name is Amy Martin and I am the president of the Kansas Association of School Boards and a board member for the Olathe school district.

As you can see, this is not a traditional school building and these are not traditional classrooms. We are fortunate to have this facility because our community supports our mission and understands that education is not a one-size-fits-all business.

Olathe Public Schools have been a pioneer in the area of specialized instruction for almost twenty years and we offer 15 different programs to help students get a leg up on their career goals before they even enter college. That means offering two-year career tech programs like auto tech, auto collision, welding, and culinary arts. It also means offering four-year 21st Century academies embedded in our traditional high schools, like aerospace engineering and environmental design. And next year, with the opening of Olathe West, we will be able to expand into the areas of public safety and green technologies. We know that if we are serious about the success of each student we must provide them with opportunities that align with and support their interests and their plans.

Olathe has been offering a variety of specialized programs since the early 2000s and we know they are successful. Our students leave us with internships and scholarships and the promise of good jobs after they complete their education. Some of our kids graduate with the certifications they need to go straight into skilled jobs.

I’m proud of this district and what we have achieved. Our community has consistently put public education first. They have supported us with bonds to build facilities like this one and to improve older buildings, like the Olathe North next door, which has been around since 1958. The board of education is committed to providing the quality our community expects and we have maximized local effort to do so.

As the president of KASB, I get to see stories like Olathe’s all across Kansas. School boards work diligently to maximize programs for their students because they know that every student should have the opportunity to be college and career ready. And they know that local boards should have control over how they do it.

The governor has asked for input on how we should be funding schools. I’m proud that KASB has stepped up as a leader to urge education advocates to be a part of this process. I thank each of you for being here today and it is my pleasure to now introduce Mark Tallman, KASB’s associate executive director for advocacy, to tell you more about this initiative.

September 15, 2016