Local Boards

Kelly, school officials urge Kansans to get involved to ensure accurate Census count

Gov. Laura Kelly on Tuesday announced a statewide initiative to make sure every Kansan is counted in the 2020 U.S. Census so that schools and numerous other entities receive their fair share of federal dollars.  Through an executive order, Kelly formed the Kansas Complete Count Committee, which will work with local groups to get an accurate Census count next year.  “The data collected in the Census informs how the federal government distributes funds to our state — through 55 different federal programs,” Kelly said. “And it’s these funds that help to pay for roads, schools, hospitals, emergency services and much more,” [...]

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Kansas Supreme Court denies request from State Board of Education to file brief in Gannon case

The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday denied an application from the State Board of Education to file an amicus legal brief supporting the funding portion of SB 16 in the Gannon school finance lawsuit. The court noted such applications must be made 30 days before oral arguments in the case, which is scheduled for May 9. The board submitted the application Thursday, saying it didn’t have a chance to decide to seek application until its monthly meeting on Tuesday. The court denied a similar request from Gov. Laura Kelly for the same reason. The funding plan eventually adopted by the Legislature [...]

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New law would allow change in dates of school board officer elections

Gov. Laura Kelly has signed into law legislation that includes a provision that will allow local school boards to elect officers in January instead of July. The measure was filed this session as SB 7 by state Sen. Tom Hawk, D-Manhattan, and then later became part of the SB 130 Conference Committee Report, which the governor signed Monday. The conference committee report also included numerous election law changes. When the Kansas Legislature changed school board and other local elections from April to November of odd-numbered years, it provided that school board members would take office on the second Monday of the [...]

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State Education Department releases information on district impact of school law

The Kansas State Department of Education has posted a printout showing the estimated impact of the new school finance act on school district funding next year.  The combination of a higher base state aid amount and additional special education state aid is expected to add $194 million to school district budgets next year.  Here are links to the spreadsheet showing the estimated change for each school district and explanation of the spreadsheet columns. Here is a link to the KSDE page that has the district-by-district information and other school finance information. These increases in school district operating funds are not the only [...]

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State Board of Education to announce `Apollo’ districts

The State Board of Education on Tuesday will launch the next phase of the Kansans Can School Redesign Project by announcing “Apollo” participants. Under the program, districts designate schools to be redesigned around five outcomes that include improving graduation rates, post-secondary success, kindergarten readiness, individualized learning and social-emotional skills. In 2017, the board designated the first seven districts, referred to as the Mercury 7 in honor of the nation’s space program. The next two phases were named Gemini I and Gemini II. In February, state education officials started taking applications for the Apollo phase. In other business, the board will: Announce the Kansas Career [...]

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LFT class hears from two Gemini districts

By Scott Rothschild, srothschild@kasb.org & Carol Pitts, cpitts@kasb.org During the first session of KASB’s 2019 Leadership for Tomorrow class, class members learned about the diversity of Kansas school districts and ways to make informed, reasonable decisions that will affect student success. As part of a get-to-know-you exercise, the class of 27 board members and administrators from across Kansas lined up from smallest enrollment district to largest; then from smallest to largest district in area and from the district with the lowest poverty rate to the one with the highest rate. The exercise showed the variance in Kansas’ 286 districts. Members also noted [...]

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Gov. Kelly signs into law SB 128, requiring nine safety drills per school year

Gov. Laura Kelly has signed into law SB 128, which requires schools conduct at least nine safety drills per year. Last year, the Legislature adopted a budget proviso that required 16 drills, including nine crisis or lockdown drills. Educators said 16 drills, which amounted to one every couple of weeks, took away too much instruction time and frightened some students. SB 128 was supported by KASB and other educators as a more reasonable approach. The nine drills includes four fire, three crisis and two tornado drills each school year.

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BOLD class learns ABCs of bond issues

By Scott Rothschild, srothschild@kasb.org Bringing a school bond issue to a successful public vote and then carrying through with the construction projects requires years of planning and expert assistance. That was the message from education, financial, architecture and construction leaders to KASB’s BOLD class of school leaders recently. “There is a lot of time and energy that goes into a bond issue,” said Basehor-Linwood USD 458 Superintendent David Howard, whose rapidly growing district has had two approved bond issues since 2015. Howard said to win voter approval, school districts must enlist the help of community leaders to explain the needs of the district [...]

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185 Kansas public schools win Challenge Awards for raising student achievement facing significant challenges

TOPEKA — The Confidence in Kansas Public Education Task Force has named 185 schools in 98 Kansas public school districts as recipients of the 2018 Challenge Awards. The awards recognize Kansas schools that are making a notable difference in student achievement despite facing significant challenges in their school population. Since its inception in 2002, nearly 1,700 awards have been presented to schools across the state. Certificates of Merit will be presented to schools by Kansas State Board of Education members. The Challenge Award recognizes schools for outstanding achievement and uncommon accomplishments based on Kansas assessment results in math and reading, graduation rates, [...]

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Preparing for the worst: Active shooter drill tests response to events we hope will never happen

by Andrea Hartzell, ahartzell@kasb.org 9:37 a.m. a person walked into the front office of Washburn Rural Middle School. Suddenly shots ring out. The shooter had incapacitated the office staff and moved out into the commons area. A blond woman in a gray hoodie - she shouted out a name - looking for someone. She started shooting again; running through the hallways as smoke filled the air and the smell of gunpowder permeated our noses. In one hallway two students were shot, injured and screaming for help. In another, four. Down another hall two, one fatally. Shots continued to ring out. [...]

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