Kansas Legislature

With higher revenue forecast, legislators review budget issues

Following last Friday’s release of new official revenue estimates, leaders of the Legislature’s budget committees yesterday received a briefing on issues they will face in the 2019 session.  The new estimates project the state general fund will take in $300 million more than expected in the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, and result in an ending balance of over $900 million or 12.6 percent.  However, commitments the Legislature has already made could whittle the ending balance down to $308 million dollar by 2021, with expenditures exceeding revenues by the same amount. In addition, state agencies have submitted requests for...

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KASB Live at 12:30 p.m. today to review new revenue forecast

A special KASB Live at 12:30 p.m. today will feature Kansas Legislative Research Department Principal Economist Chris Courtwright to discuss the new state revenue estimate. Here is the link for the KASB Live webinar.   On Friday, the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group increased the state revenue estimate by $306 million for the current fiscal year, as Gov.-elect Laura Kelly and legislators prepare for the 2019 Legislative Session. The 4.4 percent increase could make it easier to approve a court-ordered inflation adjustment for public schools without the need of a tax increase.

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KASB Legislative Committee to finalize 2019 policy recommendations on Saturday

The KASB Legislative Committee will meet Saturday to finalize its draft 2019 policy recommendations. The legislative positions will be discussed and voted on by the Delegate Assembly on Sunday, December 2 at KASB’s 101st Annual Convention in Overland Park.  The Legislative Committee, which is comprised of representatives from each of KASB’s ten geographic regions and the five largest school districts, is advancing state language that supports adding inflationary adjustments to the 2018 school finance law to bring the state into compliance with the Kansas Supreme Court’s Gannon VI decision; advocating for sustained, dedicated funding for programs that address students’ social,...

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KASB School Board Member Profile: Kevin Cole, Labette County USD 506

Kevin Cole Labette County USD 506 How long have you been a school board member? Three years and two years Vice President USD 506. I also serve as a three-year board member and two-year Vice President of the SEK Interlocal. Why did you decide to become a board member? My wife, her mother and father are lifelong educators. I appreciated their commitment to impacting lives positively in their daily interactions. All educators change and mold the lives of the students they teach. Educators need advocates for the work they perform and I wanted to be a leader to bring value to their...

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KASB School Board Member Profile: Sharon Mitchell, Spring Hill USD 230

Sharon Mitchell Spring Hill USD 230 How long have you been a school board member? Five and one-half years. Why did you decide to become a board member? I first decided to run for the Board of Education because there were no "moms" on the board. I wanted to lend the perspective of the involved parent, navigating the logistics of having kids in several schools within the district. I ran for re-election to continue to serve my community and represent their voice in shaping the future. What do you do outside of being a board member? I work for the local Chamber of...

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More mental health services needed, school officials say at KASB/USA-Kansas Fall Regional Tour

School leaders say more mental health services are needed for their students, but they also say each district needs to put together its own plan. More than 30 school board members and administrators met Tuesday in Garden City as part of the KASB/USA-Kansas Fall Regional Tour. The focus of the meetings has been on school safety. When asked what advocates should seek when the Legislature convenes the 2019 session in January, school officials said they need increased funding to hire more counselors and therapists and early childhood programs. The meetings have provided opportunities for school officials to share information and ideas. When the tour...

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SBR: Candidates square off in contested State Board races

By Scott Rothschild srothschild@kasb.org Most voters who live in the eastern half of Kansas will select candidates for State Board of Education during the Nov. 6 election. And while the State Board has in the not-so-distant-past been the focal point of controversy over science standards and other issues, the board in recent years has coalesced around the Kansans Can mission of focusing on the success of all students. Given this period of stability, the 10-member board will receive at least three new members after the election. Every two years, half of the State Board seats are on the ballot with this year being the...

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Audit samples spending on local governments on lobbying

The Kansas Division of Legislative Post Audit last week released a report on lobbying expenditures and reporting by six large school districts, cities and counties that could lead to changes in what and how public bodies are required to report.  Post Audit staff reviewed expenditures, by Wichita USD 259, Olathe USD 233, Shawnee Mission USD 512; Shawnee, Sedgwick and Johnson Counties; and the cities of Overland Park, Kansas City and Wichita in three areas: direct payments to lobbyists, whether employed or contracted; payments to associations with known lobbyists, such as KASB; and payments to associations with no lobbyists or the...

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Senate passes education funding bill

The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved a Fiscal Year 2019 funding bill that adds a little over $500 million to federal funding on K-12 public schools. The $71.6 billion measure must be reconciled this fall with a similar bill in the House of Representatives, which authorizes about $2 billion less than the Senate. The National School Boards Association is urging school boards to ask their Members of Congress to maximize funding for Title I, special education and related federal education programs. Controversy erupted Thursday when it was reported Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was considering allowing schools to use Title IV...

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KCP&L and Westar Energy, Evergy Companies award three innovative curriculum grants

KCP&L and Westar Energy, Evergy Companies, in partnership with the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) and the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), announce recipients of the fourth annual KCP&L and Westar Energy, Evergy Companies STEM Innovative Curriculum grants. Each project receives a $3,000 grant aimed at increasing student interest and academic achievement in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines as applied to electrical energy. A focus on expanding the diversity of students involved in STEM education and on projects that include community service were of special interest to this year’s grant selection committee. Terry Bassham, President and...

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