Federal Issues

Unprecedented end of 2020 session to be discussed at board leadership forum

KASB’s Mark Tallman and Leah Fliter on Wednesday will provide details to education leaders on what the 2020 Legislature did to close its business during a marathon 24-hour session last week. The discussion will be held as part of KASB’s “Lunch and Learns” series, via Zoom from noon to 12:45 p.m. Wednesday (May 27). The event is open to all KASB member boards of education and district leaders. There is no registration fee, however, pre-registration is required to receive access to the online sessions. To register, go to this link. Once registered, participants will receive a registration confirmation email from pinpoint@kasb.org...

Read more...

Legislature passes bills on COVID response, education and tax policies on final day

Just short of 24 hours after it began, the final day of the 2020 Legislature passed a multi-part bill addressing the COVID pandemic that Democrats say could be vetoed by Gov. Laura Kelly.  The Legislature also approved a bundle of several education bills, including a provision allowing districts to pay for student tuition in dual high school/college courses, and combined a number tax provisions.  Here are the provisions:  COVID response – HB 2054. Bill description. Conference Committee report.   The bill appropriates federal funding Kansas receives from COVID relief to the Legislative Coordinating Council, rather than the office of the Governor. It requires state...

Read more...

KASB Legislative Roundup, Wed. May 20

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved a package of bills prompted by the COVID pandemic and the state’s response, sending to them to the full Senate tomorrow for an unusual one-day session to wrap up the 2020 Legislature.  The measures were amended into House bills, which means if passed by the Senate, the House can either agree to Senate positions without amendment or request a conference committee to negotiate changes. There are also several bills already in conference committee, which could be used to bring legislation to final action by the full House and Senate.  The specific wording of bills...

Read more...

KASB Legislative Roundup, Tuesday, May 19

Senate Judiciary plans action on COVID related bills  After two days of hearings, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to debate on Wednesday a series of proposals including COVID-related liability issues; the governor’s disaster emergency declarations, orders and authority; and greater legislative control over spending federal COVID-related funding.  According to committee chair Sen. Rick Wilborn, R-McPherson, bills will be drafted for the committee’s consideration when it meets at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. If approved, these bills could go the full Senate for debate when the Legislature returns for a one-day wrap-up session Thursday. The concepts include:  First, extending legal liability protection for...

Read more...

Budget, tax and other committees meeting this week in preparation for one-day mini session

Republican legislative leaders have scheduled several committee meetings this week -- including budget and tax panels -- to prepare legislation for the one-day end of session. Education leaders must stay vigilant to developments since the coronavirus pandemic has caused an historic drop in state revenue and K-12 funding makes up half of the state budget. The latest revenue estimate shows Kansas faces a $1.27 billion revenue shortfall for the remainder of this fiscal year and the next fiscal year, which starts July 1. Legislators approved a budget earlier this session before the COVID-19 crisis swept the state and nation.  Gov. Kelly...

Read more...

Allocations to school districts under CARES Act

Allocations to Kansas public school districts from the federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act range from $8,002 for Grinnell USD 291 to $17.9 million for Kansas’ largest district, Wichita USD 259. Here is a link to a Kansas State Department of Education document that shows the allocations by district. Congress recently approved the CARES Act, providing $2 trillion in stimulus, including $13.5 billion to public schools. Kansas public education received approximately $84 million. About $76.1 million was distributed to districts under the Title 1 formula, officials had said, with the remainder possibly going toward special education. KSDE officials have...

Read more...

USDA announces internet funds for two Kansas counties

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Thursday it has awarded $71 million in funding to extend broadband internet access in rural underserved areas in Oklahoma and Kansas, including Chautauqua and Montgomery counties in Kansas.   The funding is part of a round of investments under the department’s Broadband ReConnect program, which furnishes loans and grants to pay for construction, improvement or acquisition of facilities and equipment to provide broadband service in rural areas.   The news comes as Kansas school districts struggle with a “homework gap” of inequitable access to broadband internet among school-aged children who are learning online during the COVID-19 pandemic....

Read more...

KASB releases video on national call to action Thursday addressing `homework gap’

KASB has prepared a short video tutorial to help our members participate in a national call-to-action Thursday to close the “homework gap.”  The advocacy push is centered around urging U.S. Senators to support the Emergency Educational Connections Act, which would provide $4 billion for home broadband internet access, and to include it in the next federal stimulus bill.   KASB members should contact Sens. Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran on Thursday to urge them to back the legislation. The phrase “homework gap” refers to the inequity in broadband internet access among school-aged children.  KASB Advocacy and Outreach Specialist Leah Fliter has prepared...

Read more...

Nationwide call to action this week on internet access for students

Education advocacy groups from across the nation will mount a call to action this week urging Congress to support students who don’t have home internet access (the “homework gap”). The event is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, May 7.   KASB will offer talking points and other important information prior to the advocacy day. Members should contact Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran and Representatives Roger Marshall, Steve Watkins, Sharice Davids and Ron Estes to encourage their assistance in closing the homework gap.  The nationwide push will center around the Senate version of the Emergency Educational Connections Act, which would provide $4 billion...

Read more...

Davids, Marshall co-sponsor payroll tax credit

Kansas members of Congress Roger Marshall and Sharice Davids are among 100 federal lawmakers representing both major political parties who have signed on to a bill that would make school districts and other governmental employers retroactively eligible to claim tax credits for additional costs associated with granting their employees emergency paid sick leave and emergency Family Medical Leave Act leave arising from the coronavirus pandemic. Congress allowed many private businesses to deduct those costs in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) approved on March 18.   In a March 23 letter to Congress, KASB President Shannon Kimball requested government employers...

Read more...