Author - Scott Rothschild

Dennis gets State Board’s support; Wagle calls for investigative audit of KSDE

The State Board of Education on Friday rejected a request by legislative leaders to suspend Kansas’ lead official in school finance. Instead, the State Board voted to “fully support the continued employment” of Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis and his staff. The 9-1 decision sparked applause from more than 100 education leaders from throughout Kansas who attended the emergency State Board hearing to show support for Dennis, a 50-year employee of the Kansas State Department of Education who has been the go-to state official on the issue of school funding for decades. Earlier in the week, Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita...

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KASB Live at 12:30 p.m. today to cover Dennis, numerous other education issues

KASB Live at 12:30 p.m. today will cover developments at a State Board of Education meeting to discuss Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis in addition to numerous education issues that popped up during the third week of the session.   To join the KASB Live discussion, go to this link.  Other topics that will be discussed include Gov. Sam Brownback’s impending resignation, a hearing on teacher due process, career technical education, foster care and mental health issues.   

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Bill would change when board members take office

A bill introduced in the Kansas Senate would require that new school board members would take office at the first regularly scheduled meeting after the election is certified, rather than the second Monday in January.  SB 325 was introduced by the Senate Ethics, Elections and Local Government Committee and referred back to that committee. A hearing date has not been announced.  For decades, school board members and most other local officials were elected in April of odd-numbered years and took office July 1. That system was changed two years ago to shift elections to November of odd-numbered years, with members taking...

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No change recommended for CTE funding

The Kansas State Department of Education said Wednesday that the State Board of Education and local school leaders recommend keeping the current 0.5 weighting for Career and Technical Education courses, rather than differential funding based on program costs.  Deputy Commissioner of Education Dale Dennis reported to the Senate Education Committee on a study of CTE funding mandated by last year's school finance bill, SB 19. The bill directed KSDE to report findings and recommendations on using a tiered technical education model or other funding model.  Currently, school districts offering approved CTE programs receive a weighting of 0.5 of the foundation state...

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Committee hears due process bill

The House Education Committee on Wednesday held a hearing on a bill that would partially restore due process rights to Kansas teachers. A move by committee members to advance a separate bill fully restoring those rights was rebuffed by Committee Chair Rep. Clay Aurand.  KASB, KNEA, the American Federation of Teachers and the Kansas AFL-CIO opposed HB 2483, which would give due process rights, often called “tenure,” to teachers who had worked for three or more years in a school district in 2014 and have been continuously employed in the same school district since then. Teachers hired since 2014 would...

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School organizations, including KASB, issue statement supporting Dennis

The state’s leading public school organizations and education advocates across Kansas on Thursday rallied to the defense of Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis, who was accused by Senate President Susan Wagle and House Speaker Ron Ryckman of allegedly misallocating school transportation funding. Dennis has said the calculation used for the transportation funding had been approved by legislators in an effort to make sure densely populated school districts had adequate funding to get students safely back and forth to school. The State Board of Education will meet at 1 p.m. Friday in an executive session to take up the issue. Leaders of...

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GOP legislative leaders go after Dennis; education advocates defend him

Senate President Susan Wagle and House Speaker Ron Ryckman say Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis should be placed on administrative leave and have called for further investigation into what they say is the misallocation of potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation funding.  Dennis, a 50-year Kansas State Department of Education employee and leading figure in school finance, has maintained the funds were allocated in accordance with the wishes of the Legislature as a way to ensure that population-dense school districts got their fair share of transportation funding.   The State Board of Education has scheduled a meeting for 1 p.m....

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Hearing postponed on bill on student transportation

A committee hearing on HB 2485, which requires transportation of certain students when no safe pedestrian route is available, has been postponed.  The bill, introduced by Rep. Sean Tarwater, R-Overland Park, would require districts to provide transportation to students living less than 2.5 miles from their school if no safe route is available.  The bill is designed to be cost-neutral to districts, exempting them from its provisions if adding the additional stops would cost the district more money. The bill was scheduled for a hearing in the House Education Committee on Thursday but that hearing and the committee meeting have been...

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Appropriations Committee hears legislative mental health report

In the latest sign of the importance of mental health in Kansas, the House Appropriations Committee this morning heard the report of the Legislative Mental Health Task Force. The appropriations committee is spending the early days of the 2018 session hearing reports as it prepares to discuss state agency budgets and how to fund them.  In June 2017, the Kansas Legislature passed a budget that included a proviso directing the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS) to establish an 11-member task force to review the mental health system in Kansas. The task force was instructed to assess the...

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Teacher due process arguments heard before Kansas Supreme Court

The Kansas Legislature in 2014 stripped teachers of “tenure” without following the proper procedure when considering a constitutionally protected property right, an attorney for the Kansas National Education Association argued Wednesday. But attorneys representing Flinthills USD 492 and the state argued the Legislature was within its authority to remove due process job protections without notice or a public hearing. The dispute over the controversial law was heard Wednesday before the Kansas Supreme Court just hours before a legislative committee hearing on HB 2483, which would restore the former due process system to some teachers. KNEA Attorney David Schauner described the action by...

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