Author - Scott Rothschild

Many issues affecting public education swirling around Statehouse

By Scott Rothschild  In some ways, Kansas is experiencing the ad astra (to the stars) portion of its state motto after years of the per aspera (through difficulties).   The Gannon school finance lawsuit is somewhat settled, state revenues are recovering from the shortfalls of Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration and Kansas attitudes have shifted dramatically. More than 77 percent of Kansans feel Kansas is on the “right track” when just three years ago, only 30 percent felt that way, according to the Kansas Speaks Survey done by Fort Hays State University.  But education advocates cannot get complacent because education issues will continue to...

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Bullying, vaping, school redesign on State Board of Education’s agenda

The State Board of Education on Tuesday will consider approval of task force recommendations to address bullying in schools. Here is a link to the State Board's agenda and backup materials. Last month, the board received the report from the Kansas Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying and praised many of its recommendations. The major recommendations include more teacher training, improved collection of data, continuation of social-emotional and character development education and increased support of local districts from the state. The State Board on Tuesday will also receive recommendations from the E-Cigarette/Vaping Task Force. Last month, the board approved prohibiting at school the...

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Bi-partisan Medicaid expansion breakthrough announced

Gov. Laura Kelly and state Sen. Jim Denning on Thursday announced a bi-partisan plan to expand Medicaid, which could provide health care coverage for approximately 150,000 Kansans. The announcement represents a milestone in the battle to make Kansas the 37th state to expand health care, but Kelly, Denning and advocates cautioned that the fight will continue during the 2020 session that starts Monday to bring the plan across the finish line. “We are not here to declare victory,” Kelly said. “We have a long way to go in this process.” Denning, R-Overland Park, who is the Senate Majority Leader, said the bill...

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Gov. Kelly announces plan to consolidate social service agencies

Just days before the state of the 2020 legislative session, Gov. Laura Kelly on Wednesday announced a move to create a new state agency that will consolidate numerous social service programs that affect Kansas families and children. Kelly will submit to the Legislature an executive reorganization order to create the Kansas Department of Human Services. That agency would take in programs at the Kansas Department for Children and Families, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services and the juvenile services division of the Kansas Department of Corrections. Kelly said the move will improve services and help Kansans who needs those...

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KASB Live pre-session webinar at 10:30 a.m. today to start coverage of 2020 legislative session

KASB Live returns at 10:30 a.m. today to offer a preview of the 2020 legislative session, which starts Monday. Here is a link to the webinar. KASB’s Advocacy team will provide analysis of what to expect in the coming months as legislators return to Topeka. From at-risk funding, Medicaid expansion, bullying, vaping, and more, KASB will set up what is likely to be debated during the session. After the live presentation, the interactive broadcast will be archived and available as a video and podcast. Here is a link to the KASB Live Youtube channel and here is a link to KASB...

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KASB Workers’ Compensation Board of Trustees to meet

The KASB Workers’ Compensation Board of Trustees will meet Friday and start work on putting together rates for the next school year. The meeting will start at 12:30 p.m. at KASB headquarters in Topeka. The Board of Trustees is composed of locally-elected board of education members and governs the KASB Workers Compensation Fund, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of KASB. The Fund was created in 1987 by the association to provide KASB members with affordable, reliable insurance. The fund operates solely for the benefit of KASB members and is designed to return favorable operating results to members through dividends or a...

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Foster care reporters will discuss findings at Advocacy in Action Conference

Two Kansas City Star reporters, who were part of a team that uncovered numerous problems in the foster care system around the country, will share their findings and discuss foster care in Kansas at the Advocacy in Action Conference in Topeka on Jan. 15-16.  The conference, hosted by KASB and USA-Kansas, will help kickoff the 2020 legislative session and give education advocates from across Kansas the opportunity to meet state leaders and learn about the latest developments on crucial issues affecting public education. For more information and to register, go here.  Veteran journalists Judy Thomas and Laura Bauer helped report and...

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January School Board Review previews legislative session and more

The January edition of School Board Review offers a preview of top education issues for the 2020 legislative session and information on how education leaders can stay on top of developments under the Statehouse dome. The issue is now available online here and is in the mail to members. In addition to news about the session that starts Monday (Jan. 13), SBR covers the election of new KASB officers, an update from KASB President Shannon Kimball about the association’s work and thoughts from KASB Executive Director Dr. John Heim on mixing education and politics. The edition also provides more information on...

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State tax revenues continue rebound and that’s good for schools

Kansas tax receipts continue to grow and that is good for the school finance plan, which phases in funding increases. December tax revenue was 5.4 percent over estimates and 10.1 percent more than December 2018. For the fiscal year, which started July 1, Kansas tax collections are 5.7 percent, or $193.3 million, ahead of this point last year. The Kansas Department of Revenue described the increases as “consistent growth” as the state enters the second half of the fiscal year and the Legislature convenes on Jan. 13 the 2020 session, in which it will start work on the state budget. The state’s...

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Upcoming KASB workshops focus on social, emotional needs and boardsmanship

Meeting the social and emotional needs of students and staff and becoming better board members will be the focus of KASB workshops next week. The “Addressing Social and Emotional Needs of Students and Staff” workshop will start at 9 a.m. Wednesday (Jan. 8) at the Alvin A. Morris Administrative Center, Wichita USD 259. For more information. go to this link. The workshop will help education leaders develop a healthier, more nurturing school culture that is trauma-informed. “Foundations of Boardsmanship” will start at 9 a.m. Saturday (Jan. 11) in The Learning Center, Haysville USD 261. For more information, go to this link....

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