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KASB Legislative Committee forwards platform to members

KASB’s Legislative Committee on Nov. 4 approved draft policy language to set the organization’s 2018 legislative priorities in Topeka and Washington, D.C. The recommendations will be finalized by the KASB Delegate Assembly on Dec. 3 in Wichita during the association's annual conference.  The committee, which is comprised of representatives from each of KASB’s ten geographic regions and the state’s five largest school districts, recommended the organization adopt a 2018 state resolution focusing on the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision in the Gannon school finance case. Here is a link to the report.  The resolution, entitled “Reinvest, Redesign, Results: Continuing Improvement in Kansas...

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KASB webinars with two state budget experts are archived and available for viewing

KASB Newsmakers webinars from Friday featuring two state budget experts are now archived and available for viewing.   Here is a link to the webinars with Chris Courtwright, principal economist with the Kansas Legislative Research Department, and Shawn Sullivan, state budget director. Both were interviewed by KASB’s Mark Tallman, associate executive director for advocacy and communications.  Courtwright and Sullivan reviewed the increased state revenue forecast and discussed how the revised projections will impact school finance and other fiscal challenges facing the Legislature when the 2018 session starts in January.     

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School leaders urged to contact Rep. Jenkins to oppose voucher proposal in tax bill

Kansas school leaders should contact U.S. Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Topeka, immediately to oppose a federal tax proposal that would grant a tuition tax credit (voucher) to parents for private or religious school tuition. KASB opposes tuition tax credits or voucher systems to aid private elementary or secondary schools. Jenkins, a Certified Public Accountant, is the sole Kansas representative on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which takes up consideration today of H.R. 1, the far-reaching tax reform bill. Committee debate is expected to continue throughout the week. Chairman Kevin Brady has told members and others that he does not...

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Tax bill favors `school choice’

The U.S. House tax reform bill introduced on Thursday offers a tax credit of up to $10,000 for tuition payments to public, private or religious elementary and secondary schools. It also eliminates deductions for some state and local taxes and a deduction for teachers who pay for classroom supplies out of their own pockets.   H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” seeks to overhaul and simplify the federal tax code, which was last amended in 1986. House Republicans hope to begin debate on the bill next week and pass it before Thanksgiving. GOP leaders and the Trump Administration, in...

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Members appointed to interim school finance committee

Legislative leaders have announced their appointments to the select committee that will work on school finance before the January startup of the 2018 legislative session. House Speaker Ron Ryckman Jr., R-Olathe, named Reps. Blaine Finch of Ottawa as chair of the committee and Larry Campbell of Olathe, Steve Johnson of Assaria and Troy Waymaster of Bunker Hill. Finch is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; Campbell is chair of the K-12 Education Budget Committee, Johnson chairs the Tax Committee and Waymaster chairs Appropriations. Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, has named state Sens. Molly Baumgardner of Louisburg as vice chair and Jim...

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KASB webinars today will feature state fiscal experts discussing revised revenue forecast

Two key state budget experts will be featured today in back-to-back KASB Newsmakers webinars to provide details about the state’s new revenue forecast, which was revised upward by the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group. To view the webinars, which will include the ability to ask questions, go here.  At 12:30 p.m., Chris Courtwright will be participate in a KASB webinar. Courtwright is Principal Economist for the Kansas Legislative Research Department and member of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group.   At 1 p.m., State Budget Director Shawn Sullivan, also a member of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group, will be on hand for a...

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Officials increase state revenue projections, ending balances

Budget experts Thursday increased the state revenue forecast by $230 million, which could make it easier for legislators to find the dollars needed to address the Kansas Supreme Court ruling on school funding. But key officials also urged caution, noting that recent tax changes and economic struggles in certain sectors could dampen the budget outlook. “More is better than less, but we shouldn’t quite throw a party yet,” said State Budget Director Shawn Sullivan. The Consensus Revenue Estimating Group, which sets the revenue forecast used by the governor and Legislature to put together a state budget, met Thursday and released its revised...

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Committee hears SB 367 coordination is lacking

A legislative committee heard testimony Wednesday that juvenile justice reform efforts are off to a rocky start. A former state senator who is overseeing those efforts cautioned, however, that the Legislature must stick with SB 367 and give it time to work.  The Joint Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice Oversight is holding two days of meetings that conclude today in Topeka. One of its topics is the implementation of juvenile justice reform.  The Legislature in 2016 enacted SB 367, which was intended to reduce the number of low-level juvenile offenders incarcerated in the state. The law also required local school...

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Education leaders urged to provide input to Kansas Chamber during upcoming forums

School board members and other education leaders are urged to attend and participate in upcoming “Vision 2025” forums of the Kansas Chamber.  The roundtable discussions are being held across the state this month to gather input from business owners, community leaders and citizens. The chamber is working on a strategic plan to help grow the state’s economy.  The forums are free and open to the public but preregistration is required. Here is a link to register. Check-in will start 30 minutes before start times.  You also can provide input by completing the Chamber’s online survey at www.KSVision2025.com/Survey  Here is a schedule for the...

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State gets more good revenue news as October tax collections exceed estimates

State government had another month in which tax collections totaled more than previously estimated, which may give legislators more breathing room to fund state services and schools. October tax collections were 6.8 percent more than previously estimated, fueled by strong individual income tax, corporate income tax and sales tax receipts, according to figures released Wednesday by the Kansas Department of Revenue. Revenue Secretary Sam Williams said the 31 percent increase in corporate tax receipts for the fiscal year so far confirmed “expectations of an improved economic climate taking root.” October’s showing comes on the heels of previous months above estimates to put...

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