Author - Scott Rothschild

State Education Department releases information on district impact of school law

The Kansas State Department of Education has posted a printout showing the estimated impact of the new school finance act on school district funding next year.  The combination of a higher base state aid amount and additional special education state aid is expected to add $194 million to school district budgets next year.  Here are links to the spreadsheet showing the estimated change for each school district and explanation of the spreadsheet columns. Here is a link to the KSDE page that has the district-by-district information and other school finance information. These increases in school district operating funds are not the only [...]

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KASB Executive Director John Heim honored at KSU

Longtime educator and KASB Executive Director John Heim has been recognized as the 2019 College of Education Distinguished Alumni Fellow at Kansas State University. Prior to accepting the position of executive director of KASB in 2010, Dr. Heim served as a teacher, coach, principal and superintendent. He served as school district superintendent in Leoti, El Dorado and Emporia. He taught in Bazine and served as an assistant principal in Lawrence and principal in Brookville. Other teaching experience includes serving as an adjunct professor for Wichita State and Emporia State universities.  In 2009 he was named the Kansas Association of School Administrators [...]

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State Board of Education to announce `Apollo’ districts

The State Board of Education on Tuesday will launch the next phase of the Kansans Can School Redesign Project by announcing “Apollo” participants. Under the program, districts designate schools to be redesigned around five outcomes that include improving graduation rates, post-secondary success, kindergarten readiness, individualized learning and social-emotional skills. In 2017, the board designated the first seven districts, referred to as the Mercury 7 in honor of the nation’s space program. The next two phases were named Gemini I and Gemini II. In February, state education officials started taking applications for the Apollo phase. In other business, the board will: Announce the Kansas Career [...]

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Gov. Kelly signs into law SB 128, requiring nine safety drills per school year

Gov. Laura Kelly has signed into law SB 128, which requires schools conduct at least nine safety drills per year. Last year, the Legislature adopted a budget proviso that required 16 drills, including nine crisis or lockdown drills. Educators said 16 drills, which amounted to one every couple of weeks, took away too much instruction time and frightened some students. SB 128 was supported by KASB and other educators as a more reasonable approach. The nine drills includes four fire, three crisis and two tornado drills each school year.

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Gov. Kelly, others vow to improve early childhood education opportunities

Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday urged early childhood advocates and others to aim higher as the Kansas Children’s Cabinet works under new leadership. Kelly said policymakers have learned a lot about the importance of early childhood education over the past 20 years, since the Children’s Cabinet was first formed to oversee the use of expenditures from the Master Tobacco Settlement to improve the well-being of Kansas youth. “Everyone in this room understands that education begins the moment you are born,” Kelly said. Kelly said childhood programs were among many areas of state government that suffered after the 2012 tax cuts championed by [...]

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Little over three weeks left for nominations for 2020 Kansas Teacher of the Year

Just a little over three weeks remain for the Kansas State Department of Education to accept nominations for the 2020 Kansas Teacher of the Year. Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson has often encouraged districts to recognize exemplary teachers because it benefits teachers, students, schools, district and communities. The nominations for 2020 Kansas Teacher of the Year close May 3. For more information, please contact KSDE at 785-296-2551. Here is a link to more information.

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Kansas Children’s Cabinet meets Thursday

Gov. Laura Kelly and the co-chair of a panel on early childhood education are scheduled to speak Thursday to the Kansas Children’s Cabinet. The meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. in the Old Supreme Courtroom in the Statehouse. The meeting can also be viewed on Zoom video at this link. Kelly has emphasized the need to improve early education in Kansas. A subcommittee of the Governor’s Council on Education is dedicated to early childhood education issues and the subcommittee’s co-chair, Joe Reardon, will make a presentation to the Children’s Cabinet. Leaders in education and child welfare are also expected to speak during the [...]

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185 Kansas public schools win Challenge Awards for raising student achievement facing significant challenges

TOPEKA — The Confidence in Kansas Public Education Task Force has named 185 schools in 98 Kansas public school districts as recipients of the 2018 Challenge Awards. The awards recognize Kansas schools that are making a notable difference in student achievement despite facing significant challenges in their school population. Since its inception in 2002, nearly 1,700 awards have been presented to schools across the state. Certificates of Merit will be presented to schools by Kansas State Board of Education members. The Challenge Award recognizes schools for outstanding achievement and uncommon accomplishments based on Kansas assessment results in math and reading, graduation rates, [...]

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What are the Kansas Supreme Court’s options in the school finance case?

Will the new school finance plan end in a dismissal of the long running Gannon lawsuit or will litigation and political fighting continue?  The answer to that question now lies with the Kansas Supreme Court after the Legislature and Gov. Laura Kelly took action in putting a new funding plan into law.  William Rich, constitutional law professor at Washburn University, said Monday the state’s highest court has several options.  The court could decide the new law addresses equity and adequacy and then probably dismiss the lawsuit.   If the court says the new legislation falls short, it will likely do what it has done [...]

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KASB Live summary of SB 16

Passage of SB 16 sends school finance response to the Governor, who is expected to sign; then on to the Kansas Supreme Court.  Also passed this week:  SB 130 – board elections   School Bus Tax  Budget “Mega Bill” - expected action today  SB 16 – What is in (Kansas Legislative Research Department summary):  KSEEA Amendments  The bill would make several amendments to the KSEEA, as follows.  Base Aid for Student Excellence (BASE)  The bill would amend the BASE for school years (SY) 2019-2020, 2020-2021, 2021-2022, and 2022-2023. The following table shows the BASE under current law and what the BASE would be under the bill.  BASE AID FOR STUDENT [...]

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