Kansas Legislature

House moves to the right in GOP leadership races

The Kansas House Republican Caucus moved to the right with the election Monday of conservative Rep. Dan Hawkins as majority leader. That could make it more difficult for resolution of the school finance litigation and expanding health care to low-income Kansans.  Hawkins, of Wichita, has been an adamant opponent of expanding Medicaid and conservative Republicans in the House have been resistant to school funding increases prompted by Kansas Supreme Court decisions. As majority leader, he will be instrumental in committee assignments and the movement of legislation.  Gov.-elect Laura Kelly has said she wants to satisfy a ruling from the Kansas Supreme...

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A path to ending Gannon is proposed

Plaintiff districts in the school finance lawsuit have provided a proposed path to end the long running litigation.  John Robb, lead attorney for Schools for Fair Funding, said the Gannon case could end if the Legislature increases K-12 funding by $364 million over the next four years.   That amount represents what the State Board of Education has said is needed to satisfy the Kansas Supreme Court ruling to apply an inflation adjustment to the recently approved phased-in increase of $522 million in school funding.   Robb said the additional funds must be applied to state base aid that goes to all students....

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Task Force on Dyslexia still has more work to do

Members of the Legislative Task Force on Dyslexia will meet again in January to finish up their final recommendations after a full day of discussions on Wednesday.  Originally scheduled for three days of meetings by the Legislative Coordinating Council, the Task Force has tentatively scheduled a fourth meeting on January 10 to finish up its report and make recommendations prior to the Legislature’s return on January 14.  The Task Force began the day with a presentation on Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) from Heath Peine, Assistant Superintendent of Special Programs at Wellington USD 353. Peine focused his presentation on the tools...

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KASB Statement on how additional school funding will improve Kansas education

Kansas Association of School Boards releases statement on how additional school funding will improve Kansas education  The 2018 Kansas Legislature adopted a plan to restore Kansas school district funding to constitutional levels by adding approximately $90 million per year over five years. The Kansas Supreme Court has approved that plan but said if the Legislature phases in the amount, it must add an inflationary adjustment, so the value is maintained.  The State Board of Education has recommended a plan to add an inflation adjustment over the next four years, adding approximately $90 million per year. If the Legislature agrees to this...

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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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