KASB testifies against bill for part-time student participation

KASB on Wednesday testified against a bill that would allow school boards to permit part-time students to participate in school district activities and athletics. 

HB 2540 would allow – but not require – local school boards to adopt a policy permitting any student who’s a resident in the district and attends a school registered with the State Board of Education to participate in any activities offered by the school district and regulated by the state activities association, regardless of whether the student attends a school in the district on a full-time basis.  

Schools that are registered with the State Board are usually home schools, which are not subject to academic or other oversight by the State Board or accrediting organizations.  

KASB policy, adopted by the Delegate Assembly, “supports the authority of the Kansas State High School Activities Association and local boards of education to establish and enforce academic standards of participation for all students.”  

“Our members feel it would be fundamentally unfair to hold highly-regulated, accredited public schools to different standards of KSHSAA participation than non-accredited ones that would merely need to attest that their students are in fact meeting proper academic and other standards established by local school boards and KSHSAA rules,” said KASB Advocacy and Outreach Specialist Leah Fliter. “Our members support local control and the ability to offer services to students in home and private schools, but we also believe there should some common academic standards to make sure competition is fair.” 

KSHSAA Executive Director Gary Musselman also testified against the measure. He noted that KSHSAA member schools are accountable to the state board and regional or national accrediting organizations and their students earn participation privileges by meeting enrollment, attendance, good conduct and scholarship requirements. None of those requirements apply to home school students. If home school or other students wish to participate in KSHSAA-sanctioned activities, Musselman said, they have the option of choosing to attend KSHSAA-member schools. 

The United School Administrators of Kansas and the Kansas School Superintendents Association also opposed HB 2540, citing KSHSAA’s governing board that’s comprised of elected education professionals, local and state school board members and individuals appointed by the Governor. “I believe for this legislative body to step into a privately-managed organization and dictate policy might be considered legislative overreach and unnecessary,” said USA-Kansas Executive Director G.A. Buie. 

Proponents of the bill said they wanted their children to have access to the high-quality activities and athletics offered by KSHSAA member schools but wished to retain the option to educate their children outside of accredited public or private schools. 

Committee Chair Clay Aurand, R-Belleville, said after the meeting he is not sure whether the committee will hold further hearings on the bill.  

Aurand and Musselman provide additional perspective on HB 2540 on KASB’s Facebook page. 

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