Financing Schools

Key points on education: New resources plus redesigned schools equal student success, supporting a stronger Kansas

KASB is often asked to share key points about education issues. With school board and other local elections this fall and the 2020 Legislative session three months away, here are some ideas to consider for sharing.  The big question school leaders are going to have to answer is: What are you (school districts) doing with the billion-plus dollars you got from the Legislature? That’s the estimated total increase in base aid, local option budget funding and special education from 2017 to 2023, when the response to the Gannon lawsuit is fully implemented. And, it doesn’t include increased funding for KPERS,...

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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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High-quality, affordable early childhood programs needed in Kansas

In a conference room full of childcare providers, parents, political leaders and state agency officials, a Wichita businessman had the clearest message.  “This is a crisis,” said business leader and philanthropist Barry Downing. “To compete in a global economy, we need more students to get more education and parents to be able to work. That means we need to increase quality and access of early learning, because we are way behind.”  Downing, a panelist at Gov. Laura Kelly’s Symposium on Early Childhood on Monday in Wichita, launched a highly regarded program called The Opportunity Project in 2003, providing funding for high...

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Official touts school mental health program

The school Mental Health Intervention Program approved by the Legislature in 2018 received high praise this week. Kathy Mosher, executive director of the Central Kansas Mental Health Center, said the program — linking schools and community mental health centers — has helped students and communities. “What an ingenious idea,” Mosher told the Legislative Budget Committee on Wednesday. “There is a lot of good coming out of that.” Because of the program, Mosher’s organization has been able to expand services to ensure students receive mental health help close to home, so they don’t miss school, she said. Of the students receiving assistance, the...

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Committee recommends constitutional amendment on abortion; more study of judicial selection system

After two days of public hearings, it is apparent the Kansas Supreme Court and some of its recent rulings will be under the legislative microscope during the 2020 session that starts in January. The Special Committee on Judiciary recommended the Legislature continue studying whether changes should be made in the way justices are selected to the Kansas Supreme Court. Changes to the judicial selection process could affect school finance. And the committee recommended Kansas voters should be given the opportunity to change the state constitutional right of abortion. Some legislators are angry over a ruling by the court in April, blocking a...

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Requests for school security funds far outstrip availability of funds

For the second year of the existence of a school security grant program, requests for funding have far exceeded the amount of money available. Requests from districts for Safe and Secure Schools State Aid Grants totaled $12.85 million. The Legislature this year approved $5 million in funding, the same amount it approved in 2018 when schools applied for more than $19 million. Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis told the Legislative Budget Committee on Wednesday that education officials worked quickly to get the grants to the schools. “We consider this very important that we don’t delay the process,” Dennis said. A total of 169...

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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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Committee hearing proposals to change the way Kansas Supreme Court justices are selected

A move in the Legislature that could affect school finance by changing the way Kansas Supreme Court justices are selected was aired out Tuesday before a special legislative committee. The 2019 Special Committee on Judiciary will continue meeting Wednesday for discussion and recommendations for the 2020 Legislature, which starts its session in January.  Kansas Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor from a list of three candidates submitted by the Supreme Court Nominating Commission. That non-partisan Nominating Commission includes nine members, five of whom are appointed by Kansas lawyers and four by the governor. Justices on the court are...

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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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KASB Leadership Services announces 2019-20 BOLD class

Twenty administrators from across Kansas have been named to KASB’s third class of BOLD school leaders. The Business Operations Leadership Development (BOLD) program focuses on the day-to-day operating and long-range planning that is needed to run a school district. The program helps develop knowledge on building and facilities master planning, technology planning, finance strategies, procurement processes, school security, risk management and human resources. The BOLD program includes six day-long training sessions developed by KASB leadership staff, KASB business partners and experts from across the state. “This is our third year for this innovative leadership program,” said Randy Weseman, KASB assistant executive director/leadership...

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