Federal Issues

Magna Awards nomination period closes Oct. 31

The deadline for school districts to submit nominations for NSBA’s 2020 Magna Awards is quickly approaching. The nominations period closes Oct. 31. For more information on how to apply, go to Magna Awards Frequently Asked Questions. The 2020 awards program will focus on equity in education. It will recognize district programs that remove barriers to achievement for vulnerable or underserved children. A grand prize and five winners will be awarded in each enrollment category: under 5,000 enrollment; 5,000-20,000 enrollment; and over 20,000 enrollment. Three grand prize winners will showcase their winning programs at a special Master Class session during NSBA’s 2020 annual conference,...

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KASB BOLD session set for Topeka on Thursday and Friday

The first meeting of this year’s KASB BOLD class will convene this week and cover sessions on school board relationships, building leadership teams and problem solving. The Thursday-Friday meeting will be held at KASB’s headquarters in Topeka and feature talks from KASB executive staff and former KASB presidents Frank Henderson Jr., a member of the Seaman USD 345 board and NSBA board, and Patrick Woods, a member of the Topeka USD 501 board. In its third year, the Business Operations Leadership Development (BOLD) program includes six training sessions developed by KASB leadership staff, KASB business partners and experts from across the...

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Education groups, including NSBA, push for protections of gay, lesbian, transgender employees and students

In a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, NSBA and other leading education groups say the main federal anti-discrimination law protects transgender, gay and lesbian employees and students.  Last week, the court held two hours of arguments over whether the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against employees based on sexual orientation or transgender status.   The dispute arises from on-the-job incidents, and experts agree a decision in the case could extend to both employees and students in public schools.  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on sex, race, color, national origin and religion....

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Advanced Advocacy Training Institute will meet in Maize

KASB’s new Advanced Advocacy Training Institute will conduct its second session Thursday in Maize.  The meeting will include deep dives into bond elections, understanding local school finance efforts, working with advocates and the media.  The Advanced Advocacy Training Institute represents KASB’s newest initiative to develop a network of education advocates throughout Kansas who have a full understanding of issues on the local, state and federal levels.  The objectives of AATI are to establish a network of support for public education; explore initiatives to increase student success; improve advocacy effectiveness and expand the diversity of advocates to participate in legislative and community outreach....

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October issue of KASB School Board Review is available

Articles on education equity, the effect of social media on our students, the school bond environment, KASB’s upcoming annual conference and more are featured in the October issue of School Board Review, which is available online here. This month’s publication includes the final installment of KASB Associate Executive Director of Advocacy and Communications Mark Tallman’s analysis of equity in student success. KASB Executive Director John Heim writes about how young people today face challenges their parents didn’t — namely that their exploits are recorded forever in the digital world. KASB’s Rob Gilligan, government relations specialist, analyzes opportunities to reinvest in school...

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Economist warns Tax Council of fiscal challenges

A University of Kansas economist consulting with Gov. Laura Kelly’s Tax Reform Council said Wednesday Kansas faces major economic headwinds as the council seeks to improve the state’s tax structure.  Donna K. Ginther, Professor of Economics and Interim Director, Institute for Policy & Social Research at KU, said over the past decade, Kansas payroll employment grew at only half the rate of the United States as a whole, and the Kansas labor force (those working and those looking for work) has actually shrunk, unlike other states in the 10th Federal Reserve Bank district (Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska, New Mexico...

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U.S. House, Senate differ on education spending plans

As party leaders try to pass a temporary U.S. government funding measure, Congress continues to work on several long-term spending bills, including the legislation that will eventually authorize funding for the U.S. Department of Education for federal Fiscal Year 2020, which begins October 1.   The U.S. House and Senate differ on their approaches to education funding, with the Democratic-controlled House offering $75 billion for discretionary spending in FY 2020, a $3 billion increase over FY 2019. That bill passed the House in June. The Republican-controlled Senate’s plan offers $71.4 billion in discretionary spending. Differences between the two chambers and their...

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Fall Regional Roundtables, legal training workshops this week

In regional roundtable discussions and legal workshops, KASB staff will be on the road this week meeting with education leaders across Kansas to work on issues that will promote student success.  The Fall Regional Roundtable meetings will be held in Stafford on Tuesday; Garden City and Topeka, Wednesday; Colby and Olathe, Thursday; McPherson and Greenbush, Tue. Oct. 1 and Beloit and Haysville, Wed. Oct. 2. Meetings are from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, go to this link.   Meanwhile, the KASB Legal/Policy Services staff will be providing training on student rights and civil rights issues.   The events, which run from...

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State Board considering using ACT as required high school assessment, drop current tests

The Kansas State Board of Education may vote as early as next month to make the ACT a required statewide test for all high school juniors, replacing the current Kansas-developed math, language arts and science tests at 10th grade.  Commissioner Randy Watson has been presenting the proposal to education groups around the state, including the Council of Superintendents meeting in September. He and State Board members are seeking comments from education leaders. Here are some key points about the concept.  What is being considered?  For accountability purposes, the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, like the previous No Child Left Behind Act, requires...

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New school safety bill to be heard this week in Congress

A Congressional committee will hold a hearing Wednesday on a new bill requiring the U.S. Secretary of Education to publish an annual report on school crime and safety that includes data on school shootings.   The House Education and Labor Committee will hear and possibly act on H.R. 4301, “The School Shooting Safety and Preparedness Act,” sponsored by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, Lucy McBath, D-Ga. and Jahana Hayes, D-Conn. Hayes is a former National Teacher of the Year; McBath lost a son to gun violence, and Gabbard is running for president of the United States. KASB will monitor the hearing.  The annual...

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