Author - Leah Fliter

New school safety bills would promote arming staff

Two apparently identical bills introduced yesterday, SB 454 and HB 2789, contain some features of a school safety bill recommended this week by the House Appropriations Committee, HB 2773, but include additional provisions concerning the arming of school staff. KASB legal staff is reviewing the bills, which were referred to the Senate Select Committee on Education and the House Federal and State Affairs Committee. Both bills were introduced by exempt committees so are exempt from normal deadlines. Here is a preliminary review of their provisions. The bills require the State Board of Education to develop standards of school safety and for...

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Committees to begin work on school finance issues today

Both the House K-12 Education Budget Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Education Finance have scheduled discussion and possible action today on school finance bills concerning local option budgets, transportation funding, capital outlay and possible school bonding limits. However, neither committee is expected to consider additional funding to comply with the Supreme Court's ruling that the Legislature has not shown it is providing enough money to meet the court's definition of adequacy. Also, a peer review of a new cost study released last week, indicating Kansas could have to add over $2 billion to reach highly ambitious educational outcomes, was...

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Dyslexia task force bill passes Senate Committee; Inspector General bill doesn’t

A bill establishing a statewide task force on dyslexia advanced to the Kansas Senate Wednesday. A second bill, which would have created the office of Education Inspector General in the State Treasurer’s office, failed a committee vote but may yet see action this legislative session. An amended Substitute for HB 2602 passed the Senate Education Committee unanimously. The bill establishes a legislative task force on dyslexia that will examine evidence-based practices for students with dyslexia. KASB was neutral on the bill, joining USA-Kansas and the Kansas Association of Special Education Administrators (KASEA) in requesting the addition of education professionals to...

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Federal gun bill doesn’t override state, local laws

A federal firearms bill recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives does not pre-empt state or local prohibitions against guns on K-12 school grounds. The House on December 6 passed H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. The bill is designed to standardize the reciprocal recognition of gun permits, which are currently regulated on a state-by-state basis. Kansas does not require residents to obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon, but many states do. You can view a National Rifle Association map of concealed carry reciprocity laws here. Kansas law prohibits possession of a firearm on K-12 school property...

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KASB Conference evaluations will help 2018 planning

School leaders, please fill out online evaluations of KASB and USA-Kansas programming at the KASB 100th Annual Conference. Your input will help us plan next year’s conference in Overland Park. If you attended the Winter School Law pre-conference session on Friday, Dec. 1, you can find the evaluation form here. The Foundations of Boardsmanship form is here. You can offer input on KSSA Day here. The evaluation form for the full KASB 2017 Annual Conference on Dec. 1,2 and 3, 2017 is online here. Thank you for your assistance as we plan for 2018.  

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Tax bills headed to conference committee; education advocates urge changes

With the passage of the U.S. Senate tax reform bill early Saturday morning, education advocates must focus on the conference committee process to defend public education.  The Senate passed its version of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” by a vote of 51-49 at 1:30 a.m. Central Time Saturday morning. Kansas Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran voted “yes.”  The floor debate included a number of dramatic moments, as the bill teetered on the brink of being sent back to committee for further work after Senate deficit hawks complained the measure adds $1 trillion to the federal debt over the next...

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2017 Westar Energy STEM Innovative Curriculum Grant Awards Announced

Westar Energy, in cooperation with the Kansas Association of School Boards and the Kansas State Department of Education, announces recipients of the third annual Westar Energy STEM Innovative Curriculum grants. Each project receives a $3,000 grant from Westar Energy aimed at increasing student interest and academic achievement in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines as applied to electrical energy. A focus on expanding the diversity of students involved in STEM education is of particular interest in the grant program. Westar Energy’s Jerl Banning, senior vice-president, operations support and administration, said the project is exactly on track to meet the...

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In Your School Board Review: KASB Risk Management’s Health Insurance Consulting Saves Districts Money

KASB Risk Management’s newest service — Health Insurance Consulting — is saving school districts money. Sublette USD 374 Superintendent Rex Bruce said use of the health consultant saved the district $45,000. “The process was easy and I recommend it to any district wanting to obtain the lowest possible rates,” Bruce said. For Sublette, KASB’s health insurance consulting partner McInnes Group shopped rates from other health insurance companies and when they sent their findings, Bruce took the numbers to the district’s current agent “and after three days our current provider lowered our annual rates by 11 percent.” McInnes received 20 percent of the savings,...

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In Your School Board Review: Henderson urges action during Congressional recess

KASB Past-President Frank Henderson is urging Kansas school board members to make time this summer to hone their federal advocacy skills with help from the National School Boards Association and an August meeting at KASB. U.S. Senators and Representatives are working in their home districts and won’t return to Washington, D.C. until Sept. 5. Henderson says now is a perfect time for school leaders to strengthen relationships with elected officials and their staff and to talk about how federal policies effect Kansas students. For KASB’s in-depth interview with Henderson about summer recess action and NSBA’s Summer Recess Action Guide, go...

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The ABC’s of the First Day

The first day of school is the second-best day of the year. The last day of school is the best day of the year. You can’t have one without the other, and they are both filled with excitement of completely different kinds. What memories and thoughts does the first day call to mind? I will share my ABC’s of the first day.  What are yours? A is for A New Day in Kansas Schools, thanks to a new vision from KSDE. B is for Brown, as in Miss Brown, the most beautiful Kindergarten teacher in Colby Kansas in 1963. C is for...

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