Author - Scott Rothschild

Brownback announces changes he would like to see in school finance

Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday announced changes he wants in a proposed new school finance formula, including expansion of school choice. Brownback’s statement released to the media came on the 104th day of the legislative session and just hours before House and Senate negotiators were poised to sit down to hammer out differences in the plans approved by each chamber. “I appreciate the hard work of the House and Senate committees this session on this enormous and vitally important undertaking,” Brownback said. “However, I do believe there remains some room for improvement.” Before the final bill reaches his desk for consideration, Brownback...

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Negotiations expected on House, Senate school finance bills

The House and Senate are expected to set up a conference committee to resolve differences between the Senate school finance bill passed yesterday in HB 2186, and the House bill, HB 2410, passed last week. The conference committee will likely begin meeting today. The Senate bill was approved on final action yesterday by a vote of 23-16. Here is the roll call vote. Seven of the Senate's nine Democrats voted against the bill, with Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, saying the bill is "riddled with in inadequacy and inequity." Many of the chamber's most conservative Republicans also opposed the bill. The...

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Senate advances school finance plan; tax proposal fails again

The Kansas Senate on Wednesday approved a school finance plan that would phase in approximately $235 million over two years. It also approved a tax bill to cover its cost that was quickly defeated by the House. Differences in the school bill approved by the Senate -- HB 2168 -- and a school finance measure approved last week by the House -- HB 2410 -- will be negotiated in a conference committee. Here is a link to a side-by-side analysis of the two school finance bills and KASB comments and concerns. Relatively few amendments were added to the Senate bill despite eight...

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Senate to debate school finance today

After a four-day break, the Legislature returns to action today with scheduled Senate debate on a school finance measure, Senate Substitute for HB 2186. The House passed a similar bill, HB 2410, last week. Because the Senate Select Committee on School Finance amended its bill, originally SB 251, into the shell of a House bill, a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions could begin almost immediately. Less likely is that the House would simply agree to the Senate positions, sending the bill directly to Gov. Sam Brownback. The two bills have moved closer in content as...

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KASB webinar at 12:30 p.m. today to report on school finance progress

KASB will conduct a webinar at 12:30 p.m. today to report on important progress in the Legislature on school finance and tax bills. On Wednesday, the House advanced a bill that would increase school funding by approximately $280 million over the next two school years. Meanwhile, the Senate Select Committee on Education Finance recommended a similar bill. KASB will provide details on both bills and discuss what will happen next as the Legislature works to meet a court order to provide adequate K-12 funding. To join the webinar please go to https://kasb.adobeconnect.com/e1ecma6u6feq/event/login.html. If you have participated before, look for the blue text...

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School finance bills advance; funding does not

Approval of a school finance system to replace the block grants on July 1 took several steps forward Wednesday when the House advanced a bill to final action and the Senate Select Committee on Education Finance recommended a similar bill to the full Senate. However, passage of a tax bill to fund current state expenditures and the additional costs of the school finance proposals remained stalled, and many question whether the plans will be approved by the Kansas Supreme Court. The court set a June 30 deadline to correct constitutional inadequacies in school funding. Both bills restore most features of the...

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NSBA analysis of Trump’s education budget proposal shows impact on schools

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has released an initial analysis of President Donald Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget request for the Department of Education (DOE), which eliminates several programs important to Kansas schools and directs additional funding to “school choice” programs. The Trump education budget proposal cuts $10.6 billion from the DOE budget, including roughly $60 million in federal funds that go to Kansas schools. Eliminated in the proposal are Title II, the 21st Century Learning Center grants program and Impact Aid to school districts. Here is an overview of federal funds sent to Kansas. Kansas schools use Title II...

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Senate committee removes controversial amendments from school finance bill

The Senate Select Committee on Education Finance worked on and off throughout the day Tuesday on amendments to SB 251, removing a controversial proposal to raise school funding through a fee on utility bills and a proposal to stop state funding for out-of-state students. The committee is scheduled to meet again Wednesday at 9 a.m. to continue amending the bill before sending it to the full Senate. KASB will provide a complete report on SB 251 when the committee reports the bill. SB 251 as introduced is relatively close to the school finance formula developed over several months in the House...

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School finance debate may occur in House on Wednesday

A long-awaited debate on a school finance plan may occur Wednesday. Substitute for House Bill 2410 is the only bill on General Orders in the House, which gavels in at 9 a.m., although indications are that the school finance debate will be in the afternoon. The bill was advanced last week without recommendation by the House K-12 Education Budget Committee. As it came out of committee, the funding increase for schools had been drastically reduced from when the bill was initially introduced  — down from $750 million over five years to approximately $280 million over two years. Under the proposal before the full...

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Action Alert: Education advocates urged to contact Congress about proposed Medicaid cuts

KASB members and other educational leaders should contact their members of Congress to urge them to vote against cuts to Medicaid reimbursements to public schools. The cuts are found both in the federal Fiscal Year 2018 budget released today and a House of Representatives proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. In early May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which puts at risk the roughly $4 billion in annual Medicaid reimbursements for in-school services such as speech, physical therapy and behavioral therapy. Kansas Representatives Lynn Jenkins, Kevin Yoder, Roger...

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