KASB Advocacy Blog - Mark Tallman

KASB Advocacy Blog - Mark Tallman

School District Cash Balances Remain Steady in 2020

Kansas public schools educate nearly 500,000 students from all walks of life. Each day, public schools educate, feed and counsel the state's biggest asset: our future. Running the state's public schools -- the foundation of our democracy -- requires extraordinary knowledge and skill, especially in the era of a public health pandemic. Like any organization, school districts must prudently manage their budgets. One aspect of school funding that frequently raises questions is district cash balances, with some critics suggesting that schools are holding too much of their funds in cash balances. The latest reports show that balances in unrestricted funds...

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Legislators Briefed on Federal Covid Aid for K-12 Education

School districts have or are expected to receive at least $154 million in federal aid to address the COVID pandemic, and some additional funding may be coming. There are large differences in how much individual districts received, based on different allocation formulas.  The Legislative Budget Committee recently received reports from the Legislative Research Department, the Kansas State Department of Education and the state Office of Recovery on Wednesday. Additional federal aid of $154 million would represent over 2 percent of total school district expenditures reported last year.  There are ongoing efforts at the federal level to provide additional aid to state and local governments for COVID related costs and to...

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KASB Legislative Committee begins discussion of the long road ahead for education 

While most of the current focus on education is understandably on trying to reopen schools during the COVID pandemic, the KASB Legislative Committee has begun a conversation about the enormous challenges that will face education in the years ahead. The Legislative Committee is composed of school board members from KASB’s 10 geographic regions across Kansas and the five largest school districts by enrollment. In late August, meeting entirely online for the first time ever, the committee drafted a proposed set of positions that will be shared with KASB members and others this fall for additional input. The positions represent both the...

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Closures show schools provide much more than instruction

The COVID-19 pandemic caused the longest school closure in Kansas history and most school districts pushed back the start of fall classes compared to last year. Most students will not start until after Labor Day. School leaders are struggling to balance demands to open schools with safety concerns. What lessons have we learned so far? Schools provide far more than classroom instruction. These services should be valued. As the Centers for Disease Control noted in its school reopening guidance: “Schools are an important part of the infrastructure of communities, as they provide safe, supportive learning environments for students, employ teachers and other...

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