Conference Committees Open on Weapons, Education Bills

Conference Committees Open on Weapons, Education Bills

The first day of the last week of the regular session opens
with a conference committee on weapons in public building, including schools,
and setting the stage for conference negotiations on a long list of education
bills.
Guns in Schools

The conference committee Federal and State Affairs bills (Senators Ostmeyer,
Emler and Faust-Goudeau; Representatives Siegfreid, Brunk and Ruiz began
discussing HB 2052 – Concealed carry
in public buildings – this afternoon, but did not address the major difference
regarding school districts.  The Senate
version of the bill requires most public building to allow concealed carry of
handguns unless the building has specific security measures, and DOES apply to
school districts; however, it allows a four-year exception for all building,
including schools, if the governing body files a security plan.  The House version of this legislation, passed
in HB 2055 exempts school districts
entirely.  (The Senate has introduced a new
substitute bill HB 2055, with a
different subject, so don’t be confused by the numbers.)  KASB prefers version passed by House in HB 2055.  School leaders are encouraged to contact
members of the conference committee, as well as your local Senators and
Representatives, to voice your concerns about this measure.  The House version allows more local control
for boards.
Both the House and Senate versions authorize local school boards to
permit any employee, who is licensed to carry a concealed handgun, to carry a
concealed handgun in any school building if the employee meets such
institution’s own policy requirements regardless of whether such building is
conspicuously posted to prohibit concealed handguns.
The conference committee is also studying differences in HB 2033, concerning the regulation of
knives.  As amended, the bill
would prohibit municipalities from regulating the transportation, possession,
carrying, sales, transfers, purchases, gifting, licensing, registration, or
uses of a knife or knife-making components. 
In addition, the bill would prohibit a municipality from passing any
ordinance, resolution, or rule that would be more restrictive regarding knife
manufacturing than the manufacture of any other commercial product.  KASB believed that the original bill would
not impact the ability of school districts to regular knives, but the Senate
amended the bill to specifically exclude from the definition of municipality
school districts, jails, and juvenile correctional facilities.  The House did not consider that exemption.
Native American
Students – Graduation Requirements

The Federal and State Affairs conference committee tentative
agreed to House amendments to SB 111
that would add children “in the custody of a federally recognized Indian tribe
in this state” to the list of individuals awarded a high school diploma upon
the completion of State Board of Education requirements, even if they have not
completed additional graduation requirements adopted by the local school board.  Currently, this provision applies to children
the custody of the state.  KASB was
neutral on this provision.
Education Conference
Committees Begins Tuesday

The conference committee of House and Senate Education
Committee leaders (Senators Abrams, Arpke and Hensley; Representatives Kelley,
Cassidy and Trimmer) will meet tomorrow at 8 a.m. to consider the following
bills:
SB 128 – Expands
time to receive tech education incentive payments.  The House Education Committee amended to
extend expiration date of postsecondary technical education authority from 2014
to 2017.
HB 2261
Permanent ability to transfer unexpended balances; requires 65 percent of
transfer spent on instruction; removes limit on contingency fund.  The Senate Education Committee amended the
bill by requiring the school district superintendent’s report on unencumbered
balances be sent to the State Board of Education.  KASB supports.
HB 2319
Innovative school districts exempted from most state laws in exchange for
higher outcomes standards.  The House
version allows up to 10 districts to be authorized by the State Board as public
innovative districts; the Senate Education committee amended to allow up to 10%
of districts (28).  The bill allows districts
would be exempt from most state laws governing districts, except finance,
special education, health, and safety laws, but the districts must agree to
demonstrate success in student completion for military service, postsecondary
certification or other postsecondary programs. 
KASB supports.
HB 2349
Directors Legislative Post Audit to conduct three efficiency audits per
year.  The Senate Education Committee
added sunset and exception language proposed by KASB.  KASB supports.
The conference committee composed of the Senate Education
and House Education BUDGET Committee leaders (Senators Abrams, Arpke and
Hensley; Representatives Cassidy, Grosserode and Winn) has not announced a
first meeting, but will conference on the following bills:
HB 2109 – Extends
second military count date to 2017.  The Senate
made technical amendments.
SB 23 – Extends
20 mill statewide school levy. (KASB supports.) 
House Education Committee amendment adds mandatory 10 percent local
option budget to finance higher base state aid per pupil for school finance
lawsuit defense (KASB opposes).  House
floor amendment broadens allowable uses for capital outlay revenues, but does
not take effect until state capital outlay aid is restored (KASB supports).
SB 171 – Requires
reporting additional school budget information on district website.  KASB opposed in committee; but committee
amendments removed requirements for new reporting of student activities
information.  KASB is now neutral.
HB 2140
Substitute bill by S Education; amended Governor’s Read to Succeed program;
first grade retention, literacy assistance programs.  KASB opposed the original requirements for
mandatory retention for schools demonstrating improvement; believes amendments
have substantially improved the bill. 
Here are the key points:
·        
Beginning 2017, certain students may not be
promoted from first to second grade if scoring at lowest level on state reading
test or alternative test; exceptions for ELL, special education; one year only.  (Currently, there are no plans for a state
reading assessment in third grade.)
·        
Applies only to districts with a percentage of
students scoring at the lowest reading level greater than the state average;
allows student to take a second test; allows promotion based on proficiency
demonstrated through teacher-developed portfolio; parents can require the
student be promoted after conference, or upon recommendation of teacher,
principal and superintendent if parent fails to respond.
·        
Schools must provide early screening,
interventions.
·        
Grants to school districts or non-profits for
reading assistance programs through Children’s Cabinet.
·        
Creates a task force to study interventions to
improve reading.