Federal Issues

KASB conference concludes with officers elected, legislative report approved

Delegates at the 102nd annual KASB Conference on Sunday elected officers and approved a legislative report that will guide KASB advocacy efforts for 2020.  The actions, along with inspiring words from Chad Foster, who overcame blindness as a young man, concluded the conference in which more than 500 education leaders from across Kansas, met, learned, shared and discussed major education issues facing Kansas during more than 40 breakout sessions, workshops, school visits and a vendor show.  In addition, Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson; Tim Hodges, director of research at Gallup polling; KASB President Shannon Kimball, Lawrence USD 497, and KASB Executive...

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Federal flexibility for food service hires

As KASB staff traveled across Kansas for spring and summer meetings, they heard concerns that federal requirements for the education and experience level of school nutrition program directors were hampering school district efforts to hire food service staff.   The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which oversees school nutrition programs, has amended its regulations to offer smaller school districts some hiring flexibility.   First, the USDA now requires relevant food service experience rather than school nutrition program experience for new school nutrition program directors in school districts with less than 2,500 students. USDA has also given state agencies (KSDE in Kansas) the option...

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NSBA: Federal advocacy and policy update

House and Senate Leaders Inching Toward Temporary Funding Deal This week, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) announced that congressional leaders plan to pass a second stopgap spending bill that would fund government operations through December 20. This step would provide Senate and House negotiators needed additional time to complete the fiscal year 2020 appropriations process, including finalizing the U.S. Department of Education’s budget. The current temporary funding law expires on November 21, so Congress must act next week to provide additional short-term funding to avoid a government shutdown. Even if Congress is able to extend temporary funding until...

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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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