Kansas Legislature

KASB Live at 12:30 p.m. today on special education audit

KASB Live will broadcast at 12:30 p.m. today to review a new state audit on special education in Kansas and discuss other education issues. To join the conversation and view the KASB Live broadcast, please go to this link. Heidi Zimmerman, principal auditor with the Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit, will join KASB staff to discuss the audit, which was released Thursday. The audit said the Legislature has underfunded Kansas school districts for special education and also noted that school districts are having difficulty hiring staff because of a lack of availability. Here is a link to the audit.

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Legislative leaders may push rewind on funding formula

Multiple media reports on Monday indicated Kansas Republican legislative leaders may want to rewrite the 2018 K-12 funding formula that was conditionally accepted by the Kansas Supreme Court. The Court said the 2018 law was structurally sound and would fix inequities identified in the Gannon school funding lawsuit if inflationary adjustments were added in Fiscal Years 2019-2023. In recent days, lawyers for the plaintiffs indicated they would settle the case if lawmakers added the inflation adjustments, which are estimated at roughly $360 million. Speaker of the Kansas House Ron Ryckman and Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning indicated Monday they didn’t [...]

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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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