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KASB Annual Report 2020

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Stay up to date on key issues from our Newsroom.

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Something for school leaders in new Kansas Speaks survey

On the issues of taxes, spending and COVID-19, the 2020 Kansas Speaks statewide public opinion survey has some interesting results for public school advocates.  The survey issued by The Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University was conducted Sept. 21 to Oct. 1 and assessed attitudes and opinions from 417 adult Kansas residents.  On the issue of taxes, 24.4 percent of respondents preferred higher taxes and spending; 49.8 percent wanted lower taxes and spending and 25.7 percent were satisfied with the current levels.  Of those who favored increased taxes, 69 percent — the highest amount — said they favored...

Kansas Eviction Prevention Program could help families of students

Education leaders are encouraged to get the word out about applying for a program that could help some students and their families who are facing economic difficulties because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kansas Eviction Prevention Program provides up to $5,000 in rental assistance per tenant household. “Home has never been more important,” said Ryan Vincent, executive director of the Kansas Housing Resources Corp., which administers the KEPP. “Our homes have always provided shelter, but in the midst of the COVID pandemic, home has become our virtual workplace, classroom, marketplace, and gathering space. This program will protect Kansans’ access to...

Deadline to apply for mail-in ballot approaches

The deadline to apply for an advance ballot by mail is today (Tue. Oct. 27). For advance mail-in ballots to be counted, they must be postmarked on or before Election Day, Nov. 3 and be received by Fri. Nov. 6. To request a ballot, you can go to this link. The number of people voting in advance by mail and in person is surpassing previous records, according to the Kansas Secretary of State’s office. As of Friday, 494,698 ballots had been mailed, 188,279 returned and 105,724 ballots had been cast in person. At this point in the last presidential election year, 2016,...

Committee seeks faster transfer of foster student records

A special legislative committee studying the Kansas foster care system is asking state agencies to address delays in the transfer of school records for students who change schools due to foster care placement.  The request was part of a package of recommendations to improve the foster care system following six days of hearings and discussion. Much of the focus was on the challenges of families in crisis, the special issues of children who are also in the juvenile justice system or who have additional physical, mental and behavioral needs, and coordinating the multiple agencies and organizations, including schools, that are...

Gov. Kelly says she will try again for a mask requirement

Citing the recent record surge of COVID-19 cases in Kansas, especially in rural areas, Gov. Laura Kelly said Wednesday she will again try to implement a requirement that Kansans wear face masks when out in public. Kelly had issued a statewide mask order in July, but 90 of Kansas’ 105 counties quickly opted out. Since then, the number of deaths in Kansas from COVID-19 increased from 200 to 952 and the number of COVID-19 cases has grown from 14,000 to nearly 75,000. In recent days, Kansas is adding approximately 700 coronavirus cases per day and officials said hospitals are starting...

Children in foster care need to graduate high school, judge says

A Kansas judge who presides over hundreds of child in need cases says the system faces daunting challenges on many levels, including the low graduation rate of students in foster care. About 39 percent of foster care students graduate high school in Kansas as compared with 50 percent nationally, Sedgwick County 18th District Judge Kevin Smith told the Special Committee on Foster Care Oversight. When most foster children don’t attain a high school diploma, they have difficulties throughout life and many times end up in the criminal justice system, Smith said. “We need to graduate them,” he said. Another problem, Smith said,...

KASB leaders will discuss broadband at state policy summit

KASB President-Elect Brad Bergsma and Past President Shannon Kimball will discuss education and broadband at the 2020 Kansas Economic Policy Conference on Thursday.   The virtual conference is organized this year around the question, “What is the Role of Government in a Crisis?”   Registration for the conference is free but required. You can register here.  Kimball and Bergsma’s panel will occur in the 1:30-3:20 p.m. time slot on Thursday. They will be joined by fellow panelists Catherine Moyer, CEO & General Manager, Pioneer Communications and Germaine Haleguoa, Associate Professor, Film & Media Studies at the University of Kansas. The session will be moderated...

Community Connect program offers broadband grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency is now taking applications for Community Connect Grant Program for Fiscal Year 2021. Applications are due December 23.  Community Connect grants are available to rural, economically challenged areas that lack existing broadband speed of at least 10 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream. Grant funds may be used for the construction, acquisition or leasing of facilities, spectrum, land or buildings used to extend broadband service to “critical community facilities” such as public schools, public libraries and fire stations as well as residential and business customers in the proposed service area. Partnerships with federal,...

Blog – A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: The Pale Blue Dot

On September 5, 1977, NASA launched Voyager 1 to explore our Solar System and wander the Milky Way indefinitely. On the surface, the Voyager project was just another part of the space race. Voyager, however, served a more profound and meaningful purpose. It was part of humanity's desire to explore the unknown. This same motivation sent people to the New World, Lewis and Clark across North America, explorers to the North and South Poles, and astronauts to the moon. Voyager 1 took unprecedented and incredible images of Jupiter, Saturn, its rings, and its moons. What interests me the most,...

Broadband, census, teacher burnout and more to be discussed during KASB Advocacy Update at noon Friday (Oct. 16)

The federal census, broadband expansion, challenges facing teachers during the pandemic and more will be discussed at noon Friday (Oct. 16) during the KASB Advocacy Update. To register for the meeting, go to this link. In recent days, Gov. Laura Kelly has announced a major push to expand broadband internet service, which should help remote learning. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration in halting the Census count — a move that could have repercussions for schools — and the State Board of Education is looking into a number of changes after hearing from teachers about the...

State Board of Education to take up numerous issues related to pandemic

The State Board of Education on Wednesday decided to take up several emerging issues after Kansas teachers told them about the challenges of teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Everyone is stretched thin and everyone is tired, but we are all doing our best,” said Stefanie Lane, a fourth-grade teacher with Clay County USD 379. “I’ve seen teachers in tears talk about leaving the profession, and they are exhausted,” said Julie Loevenstein, fourth-grade teacher with Basehor-Linwood USD 458. When asked how the State Board could help, Tabatha Rosproy, an early education teacher in Winfield USD 465 and who was named Kansas and National...

Census deadline is October 15

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday the Census must end before its October 31 target date. The Census Bureau announced Tuesday night the decennial count will cease on October 15.  The Census has been plagued by delays associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes, and political conflict.  The Trump Administration announced in August it was moving the national count deadline up one month to September 30 to give the government time to deliver the 2020 data to the president by the end of December as required by law. In late September, a U.S. District Court judge ruled the count must...