Negotiations

School finance bills advance; funding does not

Approval of a school finance system to replace the block grants on July 1 took several steps forward Wednesday when the House advanced a bill to final action and the Senate Select Committee on Education Finance recommended a similar bill to the full Senate. However, passage of a tax bill to fund current state expenditures and the additional costs of the school finance proposals remained stalled, and many question whether the plans will be approved by the Kansas Supreme Court. The court set a June 30 deadline to correct constitutional inadequacies in school funding. Both bills restore most features of the [...]

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KPERS working after retirement simplified

The Kansas Legislature has simplified KPERS working after retirement provisions and eliminated the earnings cap, making it easier for Kansas school leaders to hire qualified retirees for critical positions. Under an agreement reached in mid-May, as of January 1, 2018, the following provisions apply to any KPERS school retiree, regardless of retirement date: There is no earnings cap; For non-covered employees (those who work 630 hours or less in a calendar year) employers do not make a contribution to the KPERS fund; Employers will make the statutory contribution on a covered employee’s first $25,000 in earnings in a calendar year and make a [...]

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Coalition of Innovative School Districts updates State Board

The Kansas State Board of Education received its bi-annual report from the Coalition of Innovative School Districts during its regular April meeting Tuesday in Topeka. Marysville USD 364 Superintendent Bill Mullins represented the group of six districts sharing the work that has been their focus over the past few months. First up was sharing the Vision and Mission of the group: Vision: Act as purposeful risk takers to meet the needs of our diverse learners, by challenging the status quo. Mission: Challenge traditional thinking, construct brighter futures, through collegiality, with a focus on research based practice. Mullins also reported on the work of two [...]

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State Board to consider specialized certificates

The Kansas State Board of Education is scheduled to vote on whether to renew specialized certificates for 15 instructors to teach for Kansas City USD 500. The board will hold its monthly meeting Tuesday and on Wednesday will visit the Kansas School for the Blind in Kansas City and Kansas School for the Deaf in Olathe. On Tuesday, the board will consider whether to renew the specialized certificates for one year. In 2015, the board approved the Coalition of Innovative School Districts’ proposal to hire non-licensed professional employees or licensed professional employees in areas outside their area of licensure. In other business, [...]

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KASB first adjournment webinar

KASB will conduct a legislative webinar at 12:30 p.m. Friday to review what has and hasn’t happened as the Legislature takes a three-week break. It is possible, the webinar could occur on Thursday if the Legislature breaks early. Please watch the KASB website and social media for updates. KASB’s Mark Tallman, associate executive director for advocacy; Leah Fliter, advocacy/outreach specialist; and Rob Gilligan, governmental relations specialist, will discuss the week’s events in the Legislature. School finance, budget and taxes, and KPERS issues still remain in play as legislators head home before returning for the wrap-up session on May 1. To join the [...]

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KPERS discussions continue

Conference committee discussions continued Wednesday on KPERS working after retirement issues with little progress made as the Legislature neared first adjournment, which is scheduled for this Friday but may come sooner. Members of the House and Senate Financial Institutions and Pensions committees met for a second time to review differences between HB 2268, H Sub for SB 21 and SB 138, which address KPERS working after retirement provisions. Education leaders and others have requested the legislature simplify the law in order to help them fill positions, particularly in rural areas of the state. Senate Vice President Jeff Longbine, R-Emporia, the lead [...]

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KPERS discussions continue

The House and Senate conference committee on Financial Institutions and Insurance met briefly Tuesday to consider the respective chambers’ positions on KPERs-related bills. The panel will meet again Wednesday morning to resolve differences between the two houses. The bills under consideration are H Sub for SB 21, HB 2268, and SB 138 as amended. They primarily address working after retirement, with varying positions on the required waiting period between retiring from a KPERS position and returning to work (60 days is current law; SB 138 and HB 2268 require 180 days for retirees aged 62 and under); grandfathering of licensed [...]

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Senate approves budget that depends on more revenue

The Kansas Senate on Thursday approved 25-15 an unbalanced budget for the next two years, with funding dependent on new revenue that has not been determined, and no additional funding for school finance in response to the Gannon decision. Senate Bill 189, as proposed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, would have left a deficit of over $400 million for both FY 2018 and FY 2019. That amount was trimmed back when the Senate accepted an amendment to delete additional funding for Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. As passed, the bill restored cuts of $47 million in FY 2018 and [...]

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Budget agreement for this year reached as work continues on future years

House and Senate budget committee leaders Tuesday struck a deal to balance the current year budget, while the Senate today will debate a two-year budget plan that would result in a nearly $900 million deficit over two years without a tax increase. The budget proposed by the Senate Ways and Means Committee in Sub SB 189 significantly differs from Gov. Sam Brownback's budget recommendations. Over Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019, it restores nearly $350 million in KPERS funding, adds $139 million in K-12 state aid the governor reduced for procurement and insurance savings the Legislature determined cannot be implemented, and [...]

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Appropriations Committee wrestles with budget gap; shifts parent education funding

The House Appropriations Committee continued debate on state agency funding for the fiscal years 2018 and 2019 budget, and unanimously agreed to shift funding for the Parents as Teachers program so limits on participation could be removed. The committee is scheduled to continue discussion on the budget Tuesday afternoon. The committee voted to shift $7 million to pay for PAT programs from federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Families funds to the state Children's Initiatives Fund, reversing a change made two years ago. TANF funding is limited to low income families and those who meet other eligibility requirements. Ranking Democrat Kathy Wolf-Moore, D-Kansas [...]

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