KASB Advocacy Blog - Mark Tallman

KASB Advocacy Blog - Mark Tallman

How Kansas school districts use at-risk funds

A new report from the Legislature’s Post Audit Division raises questions about how Kansas school districts are using state aid earmarked to help students struggling in school, sometimes called “at-risk” students. It’s important to understand how these programs currently operate, what results school districts are getting, and what potential changes might mean.  The state gives districts additional money based on the number of students who qualify for free meals. Studies and actual results show that lower income students are much more likely to struggle in school. However, after districts receive the money, they spend it to help students actually having...

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Changes in school employees reflect school priorities and outcomes

Kansas school districts have used additional state funding over the past three years to add employees, filling positions lost in previous budget cuts and continuing a 20-year trend of expanding services to help students with changing educational needs reach higher levels of success. School employee positions were cut by over 2,200 from 2009 to 2017 when funding fell behind inflation. Since 2017, districts have added 4,356 positions, including 1,323 in the current year. More than 80 percent of those positions have been in four areas: teachers and other instructional staff, student support programs, teacher support, and school building administration. Including these...

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Kansas school boards – changes, challenges and accountability

This is my 30th year working for KASB, and every year I’ve spent the first weekend in December at our annual convention, seeing hundreds of our members just a month before trying to represent them in the legislative session opening in January as their lobbyist.  And as always, I was impressed by these Kansans – the only elected officials in Kansas who by law cannot receive salaries; for whom the biggest perk is a free pass to student activities. They come from literally every walk of life: farmers, small business owners, homemakers and corporate executives; retirees and recent graduates; teachers...

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