Kansas Legislature

Renowned school finance expert Bruce Baker to speak at KASB School Finance workshop

Renowned school finance scholar Dr. Bruce D. Baker, EdD will remotely join KASB’s Wednesday School Finance workshop for a discussion on equity issues in school finance and the broader national picture. Regarded as one of the leading scholars in the field of school finance and equity, Dr. Baker brings a level of knowledge and understanding not often available at these workshops. His latest work, Educational Inequality and School Finance: Why Money Matters for America’s Students, is highlighted in great detail on the Amazon book site.  Read their description below: “In Educational Inequality and School Finance, Bruce D. Baker offers a comprehensive examination...

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Update on Mental Health Pilot program will be given at KASB School Finance Basics seminar on Dec. 12

Kyle Kessler, the executive director of the Association of Community Mental Health Centers of Kansas, has been added to the agenda for KASB’s School Finance Basics seminar on Wed. Dec. 12 to discuss the Mental Health Pilot program established last year.  Last year, the Legislature appropriated $10 million, all from the state general fund, for the first year of a Mental Health Intervention Team pilot program between school districts and community mental health centers for fiscal year 2019, including $7.5 million for the operation of the pilot program and $2.5 million for the one-time purchase of a database.   Upon the certification...

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Gov.-elect Kelly, others upset over lack of mental health treatment facilities

Gov.-elect Laura Kelly on Monday expressed shock that a state agency hasn’t done more to expand facilities to help young people with severe mental health problems.  In a meeting of the Child Welfare Task Force, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services said there were 140 youth on a waiting list to receive help at Psychiatric Residential Treatment Facilities (PRTF).  “I’m stunned that your agency has not done anything concrete to deal with that issue,” said Kelly who as a state senator is a member of the Child Welfare Task Force.  Task Force Chairwoman Sen. Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka, was also upset....

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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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