Author - Debbie Dyche

House Committee hears tax credit bill

The House Education Committee on Thursday held a hearing on HB 2374, which expands the existing tax credit for low income students scholarship program. Committee chair Rep. Clay Aurand, R-Belleville, announced he does not plan to advance the bill for House consideration. Tax credits or vouchers for private schools are, however, expected to be discussed as the Legislature develops a new school finance formula. HB 2374 would make all students on free or reduced lunch status in public schools eligible for the scholarship program. Currently, corporations are allowed to contribute money (and receive a 70 percent tax credit) to a [...]

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Kansas Capitol Connection: A weekly summary of education-related developments before the Legislature

Two weeks from first adjournment, the Kansas Legislature has started what promises to be a difficult process to pass a new school finance plan, state budget and the tax increases needed to pay for it all. “Please, just take a breath,” House K-12 Education Budget Committee Chairman Larry Campbell, R-Olathe, urged school officials as hearings started on House Bill 2410. “This is just the beginning of a long process,” he said. The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn Friday, April 7, take a three-week break, and then return for the wrap-up session on Monday, May 1. The Kansas Supreme Court has declared [...]

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KASB neutral on new school finance bill, supports some parts, but funding falls short

KASB on Thursday said it is neutral on the new school finance proposal as introduced — supporting some provisions but also noting the legislation falls far short of providing enough revenue to help students succeed. KASB also will be testifying against efforts contained in the school finance plan and a separate bill to expand a program that provides tax credits to send students to private schools. KASB urges school advocates to stay up-to-date on developments on these issues. KASB has developed a special tracking document to assist in staying abreast of changes in the school finance formula discussions under House [...]

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KASB will conduct webinar on Friday to provide details on school finance measure

KASB will conduct a deeper dive into the details of a new school finance proposal during a webinar at 12:30 p.m. Friday. The measure was introduced earlier this week and is the subject of current public hearings before the House K-12 Education Budget Committee. KASB will provide information that school leaders need to understand the bill and talk to their representatives about the measure. Find KASB's School Finance Framework Tracking document here. To join the webinar please go to https://kasb.adobeconnect.com/e6vu0tduoqq/event/registration.html. If you have participated before, look for the blue text stating “If you have registered with us before, please click here.” [...]

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Senate Committee advances two retirement bills

Senate Financial Institutions and Insurance on Thursday advanced two working after retirement bills that will likely be the subject of conference committee deliberations later this session. Committee members amended SB 138, which exempts KPERS licensed school retirees from the working after retirement earnings limitation, to create a new working after retirement subsection for those who retire on or after Jan. 1, 2018. If those retirees are under age 62, they would have to wait 180 days before they could return to work for a KPERS employer. If they are 62 or over, the retirees would have to wait 60 days [...]

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KASB analysis shows how new school funding could be used to improve student success

As legislators debate a new school finance formula, KASB has provided an analysis of how increased funding could be used to improve student success. Because funding in recent years has fallen behind inflation, an increase in funding could be used to increase teacher salaries, expand programs and hire people to make up for reductions of staff during lean budget years. For example, an inflationary adjustment for teacher salaries from 2009 (when school funding was cut) through 2016, would cost approximately $127 million. Restoring non-certified positions reduced since 2009 would cost $35 million. Doubling pre-kindergarten teachers to double pre-K enrollment would cost $32.2 [...]

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House committee passes out WAR bill

The House Committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance today passed out a bill that makes changes to state law for KPERS employees who work after retirement. House Substitute for SB 21 provides that, under the basic working after retirement rule: A retiree who reaches $25,000 in earnings must either stop working for that calendar year or have benefits suspended, whether working for the same or a different employer; The employer will pay a 30 percent contribution on salary earned after $25,000 if the retiree continues working; If a retiree begins working under the basic rule and then is hired in a “special exemption” [...]

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Flat Tax proposals fall flat in House Tax committee

As the House Taxation committee works through the final concept proposals for changes to the State of Kansas revenue stream, Monday was a day to explore two different proposals for a "Flat Tax". The committee held hearings on two bills, HB 2385 — Providing for a 3.9 percent tax rate for all individuals and repealing future formulaic rate cuts, and HB 2395 — Providing for a 5 percent rate on all income over $10,000 for individuals and $20,000 for persons married filing joint returns. Beginning the hearings with HB 2385, it was clear that there wasn't much interest or support for the discussion this year, with only four organizations providing any testimony. In [...]

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KASB special webinar Wednesday to review new school finance proposal

KASB will hold a special webinar at 12:30 Wednesday to review the “chairman’s” school finance bill to be explained today in the House K-12 Education Budget Committee. The bill is expected to be formally introduced and assigned a bill number in the House Wednesday, and hearings are expected to begin Thursday at 1:30 in the committee. Hearings are expected to continue Friday and Monday, if necessary. KASB’s Wednesday webinar will review details of the proposal to allow school leaders to understand the bill, prepare testimony and contact their representatives. To join the webinar please go to https://kasb.adobeconnect.com/e6ljyc1pqqg/event/registration.html. If you have participated before, look for the blue [...]

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Committees working to assemble state budget

With less than three weeks to go in the regular 2017 session, House and Senate budget-writing committees are working to complete adjustments for the current year and adopt a two-year budget for state agencies. A conference committee has been appointed to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of HB 2052. The biggest difference is the House agreements with Governor Brownback's plan to borrow $317 million from a state long-term investment fund, resulting in an estimated ending balance of $99 million. The Senate wants to borrow only enough to leave a $50 million ending balance. The House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means Committee spent meetings Tuesday discussing [...]

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