Financing Schools

Federal COVID-19 response for schools

By Leah Fliter, lfliter@kasb.org In late March Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that funnels $13.5 billion to states for elementary and secondary education. At least 90 percent of those funds must support local school district coronavirus-response activities, such as planning and coordinating long-term school closures; purchasing educational technology to support online learning for all students; and additional activities authorized by federal elementary and secondary education laws. The law also includes a separate $25 million rural development line item that is pegged for distance learning. Kansas will receive $84 million of the CARES Act funding for K-12 schools. Kansas...

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May issue of School Board Review focuses on end of school, plans for next school year

The May issue of School Board Review covers how the “new normal” was anything but normal this year as students, parents and educators dealt with the statewide school closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. And the issue jumps into the conversation on what happens next. Will schools re-open in August, and if so, what will they be like? In her final column as president of KASB, Shannon Kimball calls on local school board members to listen to and follow sound public health advice when tackling the tough issue of planning for school in the fall. The May issue also includes important information...

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Advocacy update today for local board members: End of session, Kelly veto, call for special session to be discussed

A lot has happened in Topeka recently and KASB’s Mark Tallman and Leah Fliter today will provide details to education leaders and what that might mean for public education in Kansas. The discussion will be held as part of KASB’s “Lunch and Learns” series, via Zoom from noon to 12:45 p.m. today (Wed. 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...

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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...

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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...

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KASB Legislative Roundup, Fri. May 15

The Kansas House Judiciary Committee heard a briefing on the authority of the governor and local health officials to implement orders and restrictions for disasters and emergencies on Friday.  The briefing was a preview of a hearing Monday expected to feature the Legislature’s chief legal advisor, the state Attorney General and a representative of the Governor’s office. The Legislature endorsed Gov. Laura Kelly’s original disaster declaration in March, but many Republicans have criticized the pace of her plan to remove restrictions on business, social and religious gatherings and other activities.  Last week, the State Finance Council, composed of the governor and...

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KASB online session Monday to provide advocacy update on numerous education issues

KASB will conduct an online legislative and advocacy update at noon Monday, May 18 to review budget issues, the 2020 session and State Board of Education developments.  This session is available to all who receive the KASB News Briefs, including board members, educators, advocates and media.   There is no registration fee but pre-registration is required. To register in advance for this meeting, go to this link.  After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.  The session will feature updates on state and federal issues as the Legislature prepares for a one-day end of session on...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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