Financing Schools

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...

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As projected, April tax revenue falls 51 percent from April 2019

As predicted, Kansas tax collections for April fell a whopping 51 percent, or $611 million, below April 2019, officials reported Friday. The astounding decrease was expected because of tax deadline extensions due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Kansas Department of Revenue. On April 20, the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group met to revise state revenue projections. The group’s April estimate was only one-tenth of one percent below the actual total. The newest revenue estimates show the state will fall an estimated $1.27 billion short of earlier projections over the current and next fiscal year, which starts July 1. With school funding making...

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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...

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National leaders support doubling request for internet funding

The National School Boards Association along with other education advocacy groups is calling for the United States Congress to provide $4 billion in funding to support better home broadband internet access for public school students during the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. That’s double the amount sought previously to address the “homework gap.” The coalition said in an April 29 letter to Senate leaders the funding should be included in the next federal stimulus bill.  NSBA, KASB and school board associations across the nation have over the past several weeks asked Congress for $2 billion in funding for home broadband...

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Emerging state budget problems and how they may affect schools

Since half of Kansas’ state budget goes to education, public school advocates should take note that the emerging budget problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic will likely prompt changes in state spending. Mark Tallman, KASB associate executive director of advocacy and communications, has produced a video and podcast that explain the budget situation and what options are available to Gov. Laura Kelly and the Legislature. Here is a link to the video and here is a link to the podcast. Tallman has also written a blog about the budget challenges facing Kansas that can be accessed here. Gov. Kelly has said...

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Gov. Kelly says she hopes to protect critical services, including education

Gov. Laura Kelly said Tuesday she believes Kansas can avoid budget cuts in critical services, including education, despite a huge revenue decline caused by the coronavirus pandemic. “We are cautiously optimistic that we may be able to make some strategic decisions that help offset painful cuts to critical services in the current fiscal year,” Kelly said in response to new revenue estimates that show the state will fall an estimated $1.27 billion short of earlier projections over the current and next fiscal year. Asked by a reporter, “Is there any realistic scenario under which K-12 education won’t be cut,” Kelly responded,...

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Elections will continue despite COVID-19. Filing deadline for state, federal races is June 1

State and federal elections will take place as scheduled despite the coronavirus pandemic. With the June 1 filing deadline approaching, school leaders should be looking at candidates who they believe can best represent their values, including possibly running themselves. A number of legislators and State Board of Education members began their public service as school board members and educators. KASB does not endorse political candidates.   State legislative races will be especially significant this year for K-12 public education advocates. The final years of the funding formula that settled the Gannon school finance case have not yet been appropriated and the...

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KASB dues and lobbying

The Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit (LPA) recently sent all local units of government, including school districts, a survey requesting information about the amount of money spent on membership dues to associations that lobby, or for paying lobbyists.  KASB does engage in lobbying, so members should report the amount they paid to KASB in annual membership dues. We have received questions about how much of KASB dues goes to lobbying activities.  First, lobbying is defined in Kansas state law as promoting or opposing in any manner action or nonaction by (1) the legislature on any legislative matter, (2) any executive...

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COVID-19 impact rocks state budget

Gov. Laura Kelly predicted the Kansas budget would take a big hit because of the coronavirus pandemic that has essentially shut down major parts of the economy. She was right.   State budget experts Monday met and announced new financial data for Kansas.  The numbers are bleak. The Consensus Revenue Estimating Group decreased expected revenue for the current fiscal year by $827 million, or 10.8 percent. For the next fiscal year, which starts July 1, the group decreased an earlier estimate by $445 million, or 5.8 percent.  That’s a total decrease of $1.272 billion from an earlier estimate in November.   “This result...

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All eyes on new state revenue estimates on Monday

Education advocates on Monday will be watching closely as the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group puts together fiscal estimates that the state, including public education, will depend on.  The revenue forecasting comes during extreme uncertainty caused by the continuing coronavirus pandemic, which has shut schools and much of the U.S. and Kansas economy.  In a memo to legislators earlier this month, the Kansas Legislative Research Department said the revisions will be impacted by the unprecedented increase in unemployment, the delays of federal and state tax filing and payment deadlines to July 15 and the enactment of federal legislation.  With approximately half of the...

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