House bills focus on special education services

The House Education Committee is considering a bill to require dyslexia screening and services, will hear a bill requiring certain special services be provided at private schools next Tuesday, and will likely schedule hearings on a bill requiring specific autism services. 

Dyslexia. HB 2602, which requires screenings for dyslexia and related disorders in public schools, received a hearing Wednesday in the House Education Committee. The bill directs the state board of education to develop rules and regulations for the appropriate screening of students for dyslexia and related disorders by July 1, 2019. Local school districts must begin screening by the 2019-20 school year and provide parents information on the results and options for services. 

KASB joined the Kansas Association of Special Education Administrators and United School Administrators of Kansas in opposing the bill because screening and services for students with dyslexia are already covered under state and federal special education law. But several parents and providers of dyslexia services said many children are not identified soon enough and charged that school districts were reluctant to discuss dyslexia. 

The committee on appears interested to finding some way address the concerns of the proponents. 

Service to private school students. HB 2613, relating to the provision of assistive technology, sign language and Braille services, has been scheduled for a hearing Tuesday in the House Education Committee. The would require certain services for blind students attending private schools to be provided at the private schools. Under current law, the school district decides where special education services are provided, in consultation with the parents and private school officials. 

The bill also provides a limit on the amount the district must spend to provide such services. 

Autism. HB 2692, requiring the provision of applied behavior analysis for students diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, was introduced Wednesday. Based on an amendment considered but not included as part of last year’s school finance act, the bill would require school districts, upon request of the parents, to provide applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy for any student who has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, to the extent such therapy is ordered by a licensed physician, licensed psychologist or licensed specialist clinical social worker, provided there is a licensed clinician providing such therapy who is located within the territory of the school district.  

The bill also sets up a mechanism to pay for these services, by created a fund equal to $4 per student. However, the cost of the school district is not limited to state reimbursement. 

The bill was referred to the House Education Committee. It has not yet been scheduled for a hearing as of this morning. Last session Committee Chair Clay Aurand, R-Belleville, promised a hearing when the legislation was dropped from the school finance discussion. 

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