Author - Andrea Hartzell

School boards turn to Zoom for hiring

By Scott Rothschild, srothschild@kasb.org Hiring a school superintendent is arguably the most important decision a local school board will make. The superintendent is the CEO of the district, implements the board’s policies and often serves as a leader in the community. Now imagine filling that position without the benefit of having in-person interactions with the candidates for the job. That’s what school boards have been experiencing during the coronavirus pandemic as boards and job candidates comply with social distancing and quarantine restrictions. “I would much prefer to shake their hand and look them in the eye and talk with them,” said Dan Patterson, president...

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Federal COVID-19 response for schools

By Leah Fliter, lfliter@kasb.org In late March Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that funnels $13.5 billion to states for elementary and secondary education. At least 90 percent of those funds must support local school district coronavirus-response activities, such as planning and coordinating long-term school closures; purchasing educational technology to support online learning for all students; and additional activities authorized by federal elementary and secondary education laws. The law also includes a separate $25 million rural development line item that is pegged for distance learning. Kansas will receive $84 million of the CARES Act funding for K-12 schools. Kansas...

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KASB new annual surveys now open

by Ted Carter, tcarter@kasb.org Earlier this month, KASB made available a new method for submitting the annual survey data we ask our member districts to provide. Previously this information had been collected via an external website requiring a separate login access code. Now these surveys have been added to the KASB Member Portal so that anyone with Account Administrator rights can update the information for his or her district. However, the location isn’t the only thing that has changed. Here are some other features that members might be excited about: Number of surveys reduced from 10 to 6 Previously KASB asks districts to...

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KASB President’s Perspective: Let grace, compassion, patience lead the way

By Shannon Kimball KASB President Lawrence USD 497 The 2019-2020 school year has ended—whew! The last nine weeks of the school year seemed to last for an entire calendar year all by itself. We have navigated such extraordinary change and anxiety in such a short period of time, not to mention the loss of beloved experiences and traditions for our staff and students. I especially missed honoring our graduating classes this year; my district plans a graduation celebration at each of our high schools in mid-July, conditions permitting, but it will look very different than such past ceremonies. The burning question on my mind,...

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Be a smart information consumer

by Ted Carter, tcarter@kasb.org There is a lot of information out there about COVID-19 in general, how it impacts schools, and how schools should respond. And unfortunately, not all of it is accurate or complete. Here are a few tips and suggestions on navigating through all of it. Information sources One thing that has become much more important over the past several years is the consideration of where the information is coming from. Social media and the internet in general have made it much easier for anyone with a computer, tablet, or phone to present themselves as a credible news source. In...

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KASB President’s Perspective: Addressing a different kind of emergency

By Shannon Kimball KASB President Lawrence USD 497 I have so many thoughts about “what now,” but for the moment I want to acknowledge the loss and sadness that many of us feel about the decision to close school facilities in Kansas. As the mother of three children, I am concerned about their health and future. As a local board member, I am part of our district leadership team working our way through these challenging times. And as president of KASB, I understand the need to provide leadership and vision while taking care of local and personal concerns. First, our top concern is the...

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Secrets to a successful school closure

By G. Kent Stewart School closure is a very sad event for everyone involved. At worst, a closure decision is divisive, leaving wounds that take years to heal. Carefully orchestrated, it can be accomplished with the blessings of the community. There are three secrets to a successful school closure decision: First, a fact book is assembled that contains a lot of information about the school in question; Second, the fact book is presented without comment or recommendation to the community; and Third, the school board practices good boardsmanship throughout the whole process. Needed information More information is needed than some board members believe...

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Committee hears KPERS WAR bill

The Senate Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday heard SB 274, which eliminates the employer penalty for the first-time hire of a KPERS retiree aged 65 and over. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the bill advanced. KASB will continue to monitor the legislation.   The bill was sponsored by Sen. Bruce Givens, a former special education administrator, in consultation with KPERS Executive Director Alan Conroy. Givens said the bill would give employers the option to employ late-career retirees who could fill key public education vacancies, particularly in rural areas. The League of Kansas Municipalities also supported the bill, noting it could help cities fill interim...

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KASB opposes linking vouchers and school aid

School leaders should contact their Kansas House members to urge a “no” vote on any attempt to link vouchers with state aid for school bond projects.  The House K12 Education Budget Committee recently sent to the House floor HB 2465, a bill that  expands the state’s existing tuition tax credit scholarship program to all students. Current law states only students attending the 100 lowest-performing elementary schools are eligible to apply for private school scholarships, funded by tuition tax credits to donors. KASB’s member-adopted legislative policy opposes vouchers, tuition tax credits and other programs that divert state revenue from public schools to private schools that are not...

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