Author - Scott Rothschild

Legislation aimed at reducing youth vaping almost ready

Health and education advocates say they are close to unveiling state legislation that would increase the minimum age in Kansas to purchase tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, from 18 to 21. Similar laws — called Tobacco 21 — have been passed in 18 states and Washington D.C. Sarah Prem, advocacy specialist with the Kansas and Greater Kansas City American Lung Association, said tobacco-free groups are refining the legislation, recruiting sponsors and planning an education and communication campaign. “We want to construct that big tent,” she said. The 2020 legislative session starts in January. The proposed legislation has picked up momentum in recent months...

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Dyslexia recommendations before State Board of Education

A wide range of recommendations are before the State Board of Education to address students with dyslexia. “We are already doing a lot of good things; we just have to be more strategic,” State Board Chairwoman Kathy Busch said. Several other board members said the proposed changes are substantial, will require more work for educators and additional funding but are necessary. “We have to catch kids before they fail,” Board member Jim Porter said. The recommendations were recently outlined by Cindy Hadicke, who is an education program consultant at the Kansas State Department of Education and chaired a committee that evaluated the work...

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Applications open for Prudential awards that honor top youth volunteers

Applications are open for The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, which recognizes America’s top youth volunteers of the year. NSBA encourages school superintendents to promote this promote to middle and high school principals. Applications for the 2020 awards are now open to students in grades 5-12 who have volunteered in the past year. This program, founded 25 years ago by Prudential Financial in partnership with National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), honors middle level and high school students for making meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service. The program gives schools an opportunity to reward and shine a spotlight on...

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Magna Awards nomination period closes Oct. 31

The deadline for school districts to submit nominations for NSBA’s 2020 Magna Awards is quickly approaching. The nominations period closes Oct. 31. For more information on how to apply, go to Magna Awards Frequently Asked Questions. The 2020 awards program will focus on equity in education. It will recognize district programs that remove barriers to achievement for vulnerable or underserved children. A grand prize and five winners will be awarded in each enrollment category: under 5,000 enrollment; 5,000-20,000 enrollment; and over 20,000 enrollment. Three grand prize winners will showcase their winning programs at a special Master Class session during NSBA’s 2020 annual conference,...

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Governor’s Council on Tax Reform continues to study a broad range of issues 

A look back at tax policy adopted during the 2019 Legislative session was a big focus of the second meeting of the Governor’s Council on Tax Reform this week. SB 22 which was passed by both chambers of the Legislature but ultimately vetoed by Gov. Laura Kelly had many different elements with varying degrees of impact on Kansas taxpayers.  The Council had an opportunity to walk through each piece of the legislation to better understand what the proposal was as well as to hear information on how those changes would have affected taxpayers in different situations. Dr. Donna Ginther, from...

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State has numerous initiatives aimed at helping student mental health

State officials are working on several fronts to address the mental health needs of Kansas students. More than 1,700 students received help last year through the school Mental Health Intervention Program. Most of those students showed improvements in attendance, behavior and academics, Diane Gjerstad, who has been helping with implementation of the program, told the School Mental Health Advisory Council on Thursday. The program initially included nine school districts in partnership with Community Mental Health Centers. But it has since been expanded with a second year of funding from the Legislature to 180 schools in 32 districts. The council also received an update...

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KASB Employee Benefit Solutions program grows

The ranks of KASB’s Employee Benefit Solutions customers continue to grow, as three additional districts prepare to entrust their employee benefits with the organization.   Andover USD 385, Concordia USD 333 and Lyndon USD 421 are the newest customers of EBS.   Employee Benefit Solutions, which is offered by KASB Risk Management, is a technology-based service that improves management of both employer sponsored benefits and voluntary benefits. EBS streamlines the annual job of selecting benefits.  KASB for decades has offered districts workers’ compensation, property casualty and student accident insurance. With the recent addition of Employee Benefit Solutions, KASB Assistant Executive Director of Risk Management...

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Proposal to replace state assessments with ACT shelved for now

A proposal by Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson to use the ACT or ACT Workkeys as a replacement test for the high school state assessment was put on hold Wednesday. In August, Watson unveiled the idea of having all Kansas students take the ACT in 11th grade instead of the state assessments in math and English in 10th grade and the science test in 11th grade. Watson said he would gather input on the proposal before making a recommendation. He surveyed school superintendents, state assessment advisors, special education directors and curriculum directors. He found generally more support than non-support but also...

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Kansas teacher vacancies increase 27 percent over last fall

Teacher vacancies in Kansas increased by 27 percent over this time last year, according to figures given Tuesday to the State Board of Education. There were 815 vacancies reported currently, compared with 642 last fall. There were 550 last spring. The largest number of vacancies have been in special education — 186 this year and 158 last fall, followed by elementary — 115 this year and 113 last fall. Science, English Language Arts and math round out the top five groups of vacancies. Teaching licenses for new Kansas graduates and out-of-state applicants has steadily decreased over the past six years. In 2014,...

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Valley Center USD 262 Superintendent Cory Gibson selected as Kansas 2020 Superintendent of the Year

The Kansas School Superintendents' Association has selected Valley Center USD 262 Superintendent Dr. Cory Gibson as the 2020 Kansas Superintendent of the Year. Since 2012, Gibson has been superintendent of Valley Center, which serves more than 3,130 students from the communities of Valley Center, Park City, Kechi, and Wichita. Gibson started his administrative career in 2002 as a principal in Miami, Okla. before moving to Pittsburg where he served as a principal and assistant superintendent. In 2010, he moved to Halstead as the superintendent. Gibson, along with fellow Superintendent of the Year finalists Dr. Shelly Kiblinger, Cherryvale-Thayer USD 447, and Dr. Chad...

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