Author - Scott Rothschild

Former KASB President Benjamin Joseph `BJ’ Eichem has died

Benjamin Joseph "BJ" Eichem, Jr., who was a longtime Wamego school board member and past president of KASB, died March 23. He was 78. Eichem served on the Wamego USD 320 school board for 16 years and was elected president of KASB for 1994-95. He was a teacher and coach in Maple Hill from 1965-1968 and then in Wamego from 1968-1978. After teaching, he worked for Keating & Associates in Manhattan as an insurance agent for 35 years. He is survived by his wife Dalene, two children, Chris Eichem (Amy), and Angie DeLapp, both of Wamego, and many family members. A private...

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President signs $2 trillion stimulus. Here is what it will do for education.

President Trump has signed into law an historic, $2 trillion economic stimulus package intended to address the wide-ranging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new law contains several billion dollars in education funding to assist state governments and local K-12 public schools respond to students’ needs.   The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act legislation contains $30.75 billion for an Education Stabilization Fund to assist states, school districts, and higher education institutions for costs related to the coronavirus pandemic. K-12 public schools will receive $13.5 billion.  The CARES Act follows previous Congressional action on two previous COVID-19-related bills. One provided...

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Governor signs budget bill that keeps in place school funding increases

Gov. Laura Kelly has signed into law a budget that keeps in place base state aid and special education aid increases approved last year and maintains most other programs at current levels before adjourning.  Senate Bill 66 generally adopted the governor’s budget proposal that adds $137.3 million, including $117.5 million from the State General Fund, for the state’s new estimates of expenditures for state aid to K-12 schools. Before adjourning the regular session early because of the COVID-19 outbreak, legislators approved the budget in the House, 99-16, and the Senate, 28-10.  The increase is primarily due to the Base Aid for...

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For many districts, continuous learning starts Monday

For many Kansas school districts, the first day of school in the coronavirus world starts Monday.  Just 10 days ago, as COVID-19 spread throughout the world, nation and state, Gov. Laura Kelly ordered all schools closed for the duration of the school year and for the Kansas State Department of Education to implement a plan for the continuous education of the state’s nearly 500,000 students.  Two days later, a special task force headed by teachers, released a guidance on continuous learning that will allow Kansas students to continue with their studies despite school buildings being closed. For many districts, the rollout of...

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Key tasks for school boards right now

In two online video forums for school board leaders Thursday night and Friday morning, KASB executive, leadership services and legal staff presented information on critical tasks for local school boards as they confront the COVID pandemic. Approximately 400 school leaders attended. Participation was limited to board presidents, board vice-presidents, superintendents and board clerks to comply with open meetings requirements.  First, boards must determine how to conduct school board meetings that comply with both health directives like social distancing and the Kansas Open Meetings Act.  The Kansas Attorney General has proposed new regulations for conducting open meetings that have received temporary approval...

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Revised Open Meetings Act regulations now in effect

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced Wednesday that revisions to the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA) developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are now in effect.  Under Kansas law, citizens have the right to observe many meetings, including school board meetings, where decisions are made. At a minimum, boards are required to provide notice of meetings to the local media and allow citizens to attend those meetings in person. Many boards also broadcast their meetings via local-access cable TV, Facebook Live or other media platforms.  Gov. Laura Kelly on March 12 announced a state of emergency In response the the...

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KASB official reviews how schools have responded to COVID-19 crisis

KASB Deputy Executive Director Brian Jordan Wednesday reviewed what school officials are doing to start continuous learning for students after schools were shut down for the rest of the school year because of the coronavirus outbreak. “Schools being closed does not mean we’re not providing education and supports for kids,” Jordan said in an interview with the Kansas Farm Bureau. The interview can be viewed here. Last week, Gov. Laura Kelly ordered schools closed to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Since then, school officials have been cleaning buildings, distributing meals to students and preparing continuous learning plans that will...

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COVID-19 self-audit checklist and best practices

One of the most important obligations of school districts is to ensure the health and safety of its students. In order to help navigate the recent COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the School Leaders Risk Management Association has created a “Health and Safety Plan for COVID-19 Self–Audit Checklist & Best Practices.” In addition to information about the disease, it guides districts regarding how to address the health concerns while keeping in mind the other legal obligations districts must consider. To download the checklist, go here.

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COVID and Kansas public education

KASB has prepared a summary of what has transpired during this unprecedented disruption of public education and this historic response by educators, policymakers and everyday citizens across Kansas. We hope this handy guide to documents and policies will help as we go forward and continue teaching the next generation of Kansans. School closure for health and safety  Commission of Education Randy Watson “strongly recommends” public schools close for two weeks. (March 16)  Statewide organizations representing school boards, teachers and administrators offer support and guidance for dealing with school closure. Joint statement by Education Organizations, March 16. (KASB COVID-Resources page)  Governor Laura Kelly orders...

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KASB to conduct virtual Spring Regional Roundtable meetings

KASB has transformed its Spring Regional Roundtable meetings into three virtual meetings via Zoom that will focus on continuous developments during the coronavirus crisis.  The meetings will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on April 2, April 8 and April 9. For registration information, go to www.kasb.org and click on Upcoming Events.   The meetings will include discussion and updates on COVID-19, the board’s role, continuous learning, communication strategies and legal and legislative updates.  Once registered, participants will receive a registration confirmation from pinpoint@kasb.org that will include a Zoom link to join the meeting.      

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