Kansas Legislature

Still a lot to learn of broader implications from Board of Tax Appeals ruling in Johnson County case

A state tax decision is expected to lower property tax revenue in Johnson County, but its statewide implications are not yet clear.  The Kansas Board of Tax Appeals ruled in favor of the “Big Box Retailers” at the end of June in one of many appeals currently in process from Johnson County.  This is the second ruling that would effectively lower the valuations on “Big Box Retail” stores in Johnson County following a sharp increase in valuations between 2015 and 2016.  Although the board has not yet published the rationale for its ruling, it appears to focus on a change in the method of...

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School finance workshops focus on new funding

It’s school finance workshop season in Kansas, and state leaders are urging district budget officials to take advantage of the additional funding provided by the state legislature and approved by the Kansas Supreme Court.  Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis and School Finance Director Craig Neuenswander were in Salina on Wednesday to brief about 200 superintendents clerks and school business officers on the impact of the 2019 Legislature’s work and to walk them through the budget software released this week. School district budgets for Fiscal Year 2020 must be finalized by mid-August.  Dennis told the crowd that school boards are in a “unique and unusual position” as they prepare their Fiscal Year 2020...

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State Board awards safe school grants; KASB safety workshops begin next week

The Kansas State Board of Education awarded $5 million in grants for school safety improvements to 169 school districts at its monthly meeting this week, and KASB will begin three workshops on school safety and security next week.  KASB is conducting the workshops on “What Every Board Member Should Know About Safe and Secure Schools” in McPherson July 17; Colby July 18 and Olathe August 7. Click here for registration information on these and other KASB workshops.  It was the second year in a row the Kansas Legislature provided $5 million for physical safety enhancements. Districts requested over $19 million. The...

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State Board of Education to consider budget, school redesign plans

The State Board of Education on Tuesday is scheduled to discuss and approve budget recommendations for the next fiscal year. Last month, the Kansas Supreme Court approved the state’s school finance system but retained jurisdiction to ensure implementation of the plan. The board will consider a number of options that could increase the funding request for various segments of school funding, such as special education, Parents as Teachers, mentoring teachers, professional development and other programs. In other business, the board will — Recognize Dyane Smokorowski, a pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade technology and innovation lead teacher at Andover USD 385 and 2013 Kansas Teacher of...

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Student safety, leadership training among upcoming KASB workshops

In the aftermath of school shootings, parents and educators are searching for ways to stop the tragedies. Perhaps not surprisingly, new data reveal districts nationwide are spending billions of dollars hardening their buildings with increased security measures and the latest surveillance technology. KASB’s Randy Weseman, a former school superintendent, however, offers research and timely data that suggest the best way to address violence in schools is to implement evidence-based models of threat assessment to mitigate and ultimately prevent school violence. That involves opening up lines of communication and trust between schools and law enforcement, within buildings between staff, students and parents, and...

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No interim education committee but many studies could affects students and schools

Kansas Legislative leaders have approved a slate of interim study topics for special and standing committee prior to the 2020 Legislative session.  The Legislative Coordinating Council did not appoint a special study on educational issues or school finance, but several topics among the list approved could have an impact on students and school districts.   Here are the committees and topics that KASB will be following: Joint Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice Oversight (2 days): Review reports concerning Juvenile Justice Reform (2016 SB 367); Review impact of Juvenile Justice Reform on Department for Children and Families, Child Welfare System Contractors, and the...

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School board leadership elections in July

On April 25, 2019 Sub. for S.B. 130 became the law in Kansas. The new law changes the date school boards elect their board president and vice‐president and changes the date when the board sets the annual meeting dates and locations. The prior law required school boards to elect their president and vice president and set their annual meeting dates and times at the first board meeting in July. The new law now requires boards of education to decide when they are going to elect their board president and vice president and set their meeting dates and times at the first...

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Responses sought on current efforts to combat school bullying

A work group of the blue-ribbon task force on school bullying is seeking information through an online questionnaire.  The questionnaire is specifically directed at administrators, counselors, teachers and other support staff, but could be filled out by others, including board members and students. Here is a link. It asks what respondents know about current policies and efforts to address bullying, and what they wish the school was doing.  The task force was created by Education Commissioner Randy Watson in response to data that 28 percent of students in grades six through twelve experience bullying, despite years of efforts to address the...

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KASB announces Advanced Advocacy Training Initiative

To develop a deeper understanding and network of education advocates in Kansas, KASB is excited to announce the Advanced Advocacy Training Initiative (AATI) for the 2019-2020 school year.  “With the recent Kansas Supreme Court ruling in support of the four-year school finance plan adopted by the Kansas Legislature, advocacy and support for education becomes more critical than ever,” said KASB governmental relations specialist Rob Gilligan. “The focus of our efforts will now be less on securing additional funding than on keeping the long-term financial commitments in place and ensuring that we communicate effectively the progress that continues to be made...

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Task force hears numerous ideas to reduce bullying in schools

Focusing on restorative justice, social and emotional health of students and early childhood learning were some of the ideas touted Tuesday to address bullying behavior. Educators and others discussed ways to reduce bullying at the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Bullying, which met in Garden City at Horace Good Middle School. “We’re starting to come together,” said Rick Ginsberg, task force co-chair and dean of the School of Education at Kansas University. The group, charged with making recommendations to the State Board of Education in December, will next meet Aug. 5 in Salina. Several young people from McPherson wrote the task force...

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