Numerous education-related bills introduced as deadline approaches

As the deadline for introduction of bills (except by exempt committees) approaches Friday, here are some new bills from the past several days. One bill has a hearing scheduled Thursday. No other bills have been scheduled for hearings as of Tuesday evening, but that could change as committee schedules are posted. 

Dyslexia. HB 2602 – Requiring screenings for dyslexia and related disorders in public schools. By July 1, 2019, the state board of education must develop rules and regulations for the appropriate screening of students for dyslexia and related disorders. Local school districts must begin screening by the 2019-20 school year. A hearing is scheduled on the bill on Thursday in the House Education Committee. KASB is joining the Kansas Association of Special Education Administrators and United School Administrators of Kansas in opposition the bill because screening and services for students with dyslexia are already covered under state and federal special education law. 

Non-public school aid. HB 2609 – Kansas empowerment scholarship act. Introduced by and referred to the House Appropriations Committee, rather than the K-12 Education Budget or Education Committees, this bill would allow students currently enrolled in public school or not old enough to be enrolled for the first time to receive an amount equal to 80 percent of base state aid annually to attend an accredited non-public school or receive other educational services from non-public providers. The remaining 20 percent would remain with the school district where the student is resident. 

Scholarships for early graduation. SB 366 – Creating the student opportunity scholarship program for postsecondary education. Referred to Senate Education, the bill would allow high school students who graduate before their senior year to receive a scholarship equal to base state aid per pupil to attend any Kansas public or private non-for-profit postsecondary institution; essentially paying for the cost with the “savings” of not attending a school district their senior year. 

No highway fund transfers to education. SB 352– Replacing state highway fund transfers for K-12 education with state funding support. Referred to the Senate Education Committee, the bill would replace money appropriated for next year from the state highway for general state aid, special education aid and career and technical education funding with state general appropriations and prohibit the use of state highway fund dollars for transportation aid in the future. 

Continue CTE funding study. SB 357 – Continues the study of the cost of career technical education programs by the department of education and moves the report date to next year. The department conducted a study of CTE funding in 2018 and recommended that no change be made to the system. 

No resignation for reappointment. SB 370 – Municipalities; vacancy appointment limitations. In Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government, the bill would prohibit members of the governing body of a city or a school board from resigning from their office for the purpose of being appointed to another position on the same body if this would result in lengthening the member’s term of office on that governing body.  

Student data privacy. SB 389 – Changing requirements to administer certain tests, questionnaires, surveys and examinations under the student data privacy act and allowing disclosure of de-identified student data. In the Senate Education Committee. KASB is reviewing the bill. 

KPERS Leaves of Absence. HB 2623 – Excluding certain noncovered employees who take a leave of absence from an eligible employer under the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. The bill would remove any employee who takes a leave of absence, except in the case of military service, and is not currently working for an eligible employer in a covered position with KPERS from the definition of employee. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Financial Institutions and Pensions. 

School Finance. HB 2635 – Amendments to the Kansas school equity and enhancement act; relating to the BASE aid, certain weightings and other school finance provisions. Introduced by and referred to the House K-12 Education Budget Committee, the bill makes a number of changes to the school finance act and low income tax credit scholarship for private school act; including phase-in of a higher base state aid per pupil; amending transportation state aid to include a minimum per pupil amount, addressing the equity issues raised by the 2017 Gannon decision and repealing the statewide cap on school district bond debt. 

State bond cap. HB 2636 – Repealing the statutory limit on state board of education approval of school district bond issuances. Introduced by and referred to the K-12 Budget Committee. 

In-state tuition repeal for foster children. HB 2643 – Repeals instate tuition for certain undocumented students to offset moneys used for the Kansas foster child educational assistance act. The bill was introduced by and referred to the House Higher Education Budget Committee. 

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