Financing Schools

What Gov. Kelly’s budget recommends for Kansas education

Gov. Laura Kelly’s budget released Thursday would fund base state aid per pupil and equalization programs as outlined in the Gannon school finance lawsuit settlement for K-12 education, but does not redirect savings in general state aid to boost special education aid as requested by the State Board of Education.  School finance changes  Under the law passed last year by the 2019 Legislature, base state aid per pupil will increase from $4,436 this school year to $4,569 in Fiscal Year 2021, $4,706 in 2022 and $4,846 in 2023. After that, the base is to be adjusted by the prior year change...

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KASB Daily Education Roundup, Wed. Jan. 15

Gov. Laura Kelly on Wednesday described restoring school funding and winning Kansas Supreme Court approval last year to the bi-partisan school finance plan as the top accomplishments of her tenure as governor. In delivering her second State of the State address, Kelly also pushed for Medicaid expansion, a new transportation plan, property tax relief and a food sales tax refund. She vowed to veto any tax cut that "throws our state back into fiscal crisis, or debt, or sends us back to court for under-funding our schools." On Thursday, Kelly will unveil her proposed budget, which is expected to include fully...

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KASB Daily Education Roundup, Tue. Jan. 14

State education officials said Tuesday the Legislature must repeal a provision that would do away with the at-risk high-density weighting or Kansas will face more legal action on school finance. The funding stream — about $50 million annually that helps schools with the highest proportion of low-income students — will expire on July 1 unless the provision is removed. Officials have previously said the expiration date was put into the law by mistake but on Tuesday Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis said it was inserted by a legislator who is no longer serving. “That one proviso has got to go,” Dennis told...

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KASB Workers’ Compensation Board of Trustees to meet

The KASB Workers’ Compensation Board of Trustees will meet Friday and start work on putting together rates for the next school year. The meeting will start at 12:30 p.m. at KASB headquarters in Topeka. The Board of Trustees is composed of locally-elected board of education members and governs the KASB Workers Compensation Fund, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of KASB. The Fund was created in 1987 by the association to provide KASB members with affordable, reliable insurance. The fund operates solely for the benefit of KASB members and is designed to return favorable operating results to members through dividends or a...

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January School Board Review previews legislative session and more

The January edition of School Board Review offers a preview of top education issues for the 2020 legislative session and information on how education leaders can stay on top of developments under the Statehouse dome. The issue is now available online here and is in the mail to members. In addition to news about the session that starts Monday (Jan. 13), SBR covers the election of new KASB officers, an update from KASB President Shannon Kimball about the association’s work and thoughts from KASB Executive Director Dr. John Heim on mixing education and politics. The edition also provides more information on...

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State tax revenues continue rebound and that’s good for schools

Kansas tax receipts continue to grow and that is good for the school finance plan, which phases in funding increases. December tax revenue was 5.4 percent over estimates and 10.1 percent more than December 2018. For the fiscal year, which started July 1, Kansas tax collections are 5.7 percent, or $193.3 million, ahead of this point last year. The Kansas Department of Revenue described the increases as “consistent growth” as the state enters the second half of the fiscal year and the Legislature convenes on Jan. 13 the 2020 session, in which it will start work on the state budget. The state’s...

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The year in review in Kansas public school education

By Leah Fliter KASB Advocacy and Outreach Specialist 2019 saw a lot of changes in Kansas education. The resolution of the Gannon school finance lawsuit was the biggest education policy story of the year but concerns about student health and well-being prompted new recommendations against vaping and bullying.   The State Board of Education’s focus on the continual improvement of Kansas public schools saw the launch of the “Apollo” phase of the school “redesign” initiative. Gov. Laura Kelly reinvigorated the Council on Education, and the state ramped up its focus on early childhood. The year ended with a controversial audit report on K-12...

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Audit raises issues in at-risk funding; KSDE defends practices

The Kansas Legislative Post Audit Division released a report Monday criticizing the State Department of Education’s oversight and guidance of the state’s $413 million program to support academically at-risk students. KSDE strongly disagreed.  The audit is one of series of studies commissioned by the Kansas Legislature in response to the Gannon school finance case. At-risk funding is particularly important because a key part of the Gannon case was that too many Kansas students are failing to meet state academic standards.  In addition, the “high density” at-risk weighting factor, which accounts for about $50 million in at-risk aid targeted at districts with higher...

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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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Updated school funding estimates cut costs to state

The school finance formula adopted in response to the Gannon lawsuit will cost the state less than expected over the next several years, according to new estimates from the Kansas Department of Education, Division of Budget and Legislative Research Department.  In a memo presented Tuesday to the Legislative Budget Committee, KLRD staff say they now believe the major K-12 state aid programs will need $32.9 million less in the current year than projected last Spring, and $32.6 million less next year.  The State Board of Education has recommended that any savings in formula be used to increase special education state aid,...

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