Author - Leah Fliter

Senate committee to begin work on school finance

The Kansas Legislature reconvenes after a short break Wednesday, when the Senate Select Committee on Education Finance holds its second hearing on a proposed inflation adjustment requested by the Kansas Supreme Court to resolve the Gannon school finance case.  Earlier this session, the committee received testimony on SB 44, containing Governor Laura Kelley’s proposed budget for the Department of Education for the next two years. The bill also included adjustments to the base state aid per pupil amount over the next four years (2020 to 2023) as recommended by the State Board of Education response to the court.  Since that hearing, Senate leaders [...]

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Legislative leaders may push rewind on funding formula

Multiple media reports on Monday indicated Kansas Republican legislative leaders may want to rewrite the 2018 K-12 funding formula that was conditionally accepted by the Kansas Supreme Court. The Court said the 2018 law was structurally sound and would fix inequities identified in the Gannon school funding lawsuit if inflationary adjustments were added in Fiscal Years 2019-2023. In recent days, lawyers for the plaintiffs indicated they would settle the case if lawmakers added the inflation adjustments, which are estimated at roughly $360 million. Speaker of the Kansas House Ron Ryckman and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning indicated Monday they didn’t [...]

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USDA approves more flexibility in school meals standards

The United States Department of Agriculture on December 6 released a “final rule on school meal flexibilities” that gives local school food programs some new menu options. The new regulations, which take effect July 1, 2019, roll back some Obama-era standards enacted under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA), which sought to reduce the amount of fat and sodium in school meals and increase the amount of whole grains served. Students, parents and some school nutrition directors almost immediately raised concerns about the standards. They said students didn’t like the new menu options and threw much of the food in [...]

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Renowned school finance expert Bruce Baker to speak at KASB School Finance workshop

Renowned school finance scholar Dr. Bruce D. Baker, EdD will remotely join KASB’s Wednesday School Finance workshop for a discussion on equity issues in school finance and the broader national picture. Regarded as one of the leading scholars in the field of school finance and equity, Dr. Baker brings a level of knowledge and understanding not often available at these workshops. His latest work, Educational Inequality and School Finance: Why Money Matters for America’s Students, is highlighted in great detail on the Amazon book site.  Read their description below: “In Educational Inequality and School Finance, Bruce D. Baker offers a comprehensive examination [...]

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Teachers in botched program may have loans forgiven

National Public Radio is reporting that the federal Department of Education may erase some loan debt incurred by teachers who’ve participated in the ten-year-old Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) program. TEACH grants were designed to encourage educators to teach certain high-need subjects in low-income schools for a four-year block of time within their first eight years after college graduation. The grants pay up to $4,000 per year for college or graduate school for the aspiring teachers. The high-need fields are: bilingual education and English language acquisition, foreign language, mathematics, reading specialist, science, and special education, as [...]

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State Board to consider Innovative Districts, school safety standards

The State Board of Education this week will consider releasing all districts from the Coalition of Innovative School Districts. The board meets Tuesday and Wednesday. Here is a link to the meeting agenda and backup documents. The innovative districts have stated that the State Board of Education’s Kansans Can vision focused on student success and school redesign project has addressed obstacles “impeding progress in education.” Six years ago, conservative Republicans pushed through the innovative coalition bill that allowed up to 10 percent of school districts to shed state laws and regulations in exchange for setting higher student achievement goals. One of the main [...]

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State Board approves budget request for Gannon response

The Kansas State Board of Education agreed Tuesday to support an inflation adjustment for the Legislature's five-year school finance plan adopted in response to the Kansas Supreme Court. It also approved $5 million in school safety grants funded by the 2018 Legislature, which covered less than half of the $13 million requested by school districts. In June, the court approved the legislative plan for the upcoming school year (2018-19) but said the Legislature would need to provide an adjustment for inflation for the next four years of the plan, 2020 through 2023, to provide constitutionally suitable school funding. The Legislature [...]

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Governor candidates take education positions

If you want to know what the major candidates for governor think about Kansas K-12 education, check out their responses to the KASB education questionnaire. Republicans Gov. Jeff Colyer and Jim Barnett, Democrats Sen. Laura Kelly, Carl Brewer and Josh Svaty and independent Greg Orman have responded to KASB’s questionnaire, which has been sent to all major gubernatorial candidates. Additional responses will be posted when they are received.  

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Dyslexia task force kicks off Thursday

A task force created by the 2018 Legislature to study how schools address dyslexia will hold its first meeting at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, July 12, in the Visitor's Center classroom of the Statehouse. Chaired by Kansas State Board of Education Chair Jim Porter and composed of legislators, educators, advocates and parents, the task force will review the group's charge and responsibilities, discuss the use of a facilitator, elect a vice chair and set future meeting dates. Addressing issues of dyslexia has been persistent area of controversy for many years, with some parents, service providers and advocates saying public schools are not [...]

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Projects come in under bond cap limit

The Kansas State Board of Education received nine proposals for school bond projects by a July 1 deadline. While the overall projects submitted totaled $365 million in construction costs, Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis said the amounts that were subject to the state’s two-year-old “bond cap” law came in at $24 million under this year’s statutory limit of roughly $358 million. That “room” under the cap suggests the Board should be able to approve all nine bond requests provided they comply with other statutory guidelines. The nine school districts submitting proposals by July 1 were: Oxford USD 358: total request: $6 [...]

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