Safety and Security

The big question of the summer: Will schools re-open in August?

By Scott Rothschild   srothschild@kasb.org  Now that the school year is over, the question on the minds of students, parents, teachers and board members is — will schools re-open in August?  Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson says at this point, that’s the plan.  “We are cautiously optimistic we will be in school in August 2020,” Watson said recently.  After schools were shut down in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, Kansas teachers won praise for quickly developing continuous learning programs through online instruction and sending lesson packets to students’ homes. But teachers across the state have also acknowledged that without daily contact in the classroom,...

Read more...

Legislature passes bills on COVID response, education and tax policies on final day

Just short of 24 hours after it began, the final day of the 2020 Legislature passed a multi-part bill addressing the COVID pandemic that Democrats say could be vetoed by Gov. Laura Kelly.  The Legislature also approved a bundle of several education bills, including a provision allowing districts to pay for student tuition in dual high school/college courses, and combined a number tax provisions.  Here are the provisions:  COVID response – HB 2054. Bill description. Conference Committee report.   The bill appropriates federal funding Kansas receives from COVID relief to the Legislative Coordinating Council, rather than the office of the Governor. It requires state...

Read more...

KASB Legislative Roundup, Mon. May 18

Kansas legislative committees continued meeting Monday in anticipation of the final one-day session of the Legislature on Thursday.  The House and Senate Judiciary committees have been charged with considering legal liability projections associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the governor’s use of disaster declarations and executive orders.  The House committee finished three days of meetings with no conclusions or recommendations on either subject.  Attorney General Derek Schmidt set out nine areas of concern or questions about the state emergency management act, which authorizes the governor to declare disaster emergencies and issue executive orders, and other related areas of state law.  He said his...

Read more...

KASB dues and lobbying

The Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit (LPA) recently sent all local units of government, including school districts, a survey requesting information about the amount of money spent on membership dues to associations that lobby, or for paying lobbyists.  KASB does engage in lobbying, so members should report the amount they paid to KASB in annual membership dues. We have received questions about how much of KASB dues goes to lobbying activities.  First, lobbying is defined in Kansas state law as promoting or opposing in any manner action or nonaction by (1) the legislature on any legislative matter, (2) any executive...

Read more...

DCF reminds Kansans to report child abuse if suspected

The Kansas Department for Children and Families is reminding Kansans that during this period of social distancing it is still important to report suspected cases of abuse or neglect.  Many times evidence of incidents of child abuse are spotted by school staff but since schools are closed because of the coronavirus pandemic and there are stay-at-home restrictions, “far fewer eyes and ears are available to help ensure children are safe,” according to DCF.  The agency is urging Kansans who suspect child abuse or neglect to contact the Kansas Protection Report Center at 1-800-922-5330. 

Read more...

Vaping disciplinary guidelines adopted

Students caught vaping at school should be taught about the dangers of e-cigarette use with the goal of cessation, according to recommendations approved by the State Board of Education on Tuesday. The “best practices” recommendations from the Kansas E-Cigarette/Vaping Task Force did not include suspension from school because experts say the most effective ways to help young people quit tobacco use is through counseling and education. But the recommendations do include an option in which the student would be not allowed to participate in or attend school-related extracurricular activities for a certain period of time. The recommendations apply to students who possess,...

Read more...

KASB virtual roundtable meetings will be held Wednesday and Thursday

KASB will conduct two virtual roundtable meetings this week to help education leaders address the numerous challenges of continuing school instruction with all school buildings closed due to the coronavirus. The meetings will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday (April 8) and Thursday (April 9). To register, go here and click on Upcoming Events. Once registered, participants will receive a registration confirmation from pinpoint@kasb.org that will include a Zoom link to join the meeting.   The meetings will give school board members and district leadership teams the opportunity to discuss issues that have arisen because of the pandemic....

Read more...

April issue of School Board Review focuses on pandemic and school closings

This month’s School Board Review focuses on the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Kansas public schools. Because of the pandemic, the issue will only be available online at this time and can be accessed here. The issue reviews developments over the past few weeks that have led to the unprecedented closure of schools and the rollout of stay-at-home continuous learning. The April edition also includes details about federal and state responses to the health crisis that continues to worsen. In addition, SBR covers the numerous tasks and policy and legal changes facing local school boards associated with COVID-19, including paying...

Read more...

KASB official reviews how schools have responded to COVID-19 crisis

KASB Deputy Executive Director Brian Jordan Wednesday reviewed what school officials are doing to start continuous learning for students after schools were shut down for the rest of the school year because of the coronavirus outbreak. “Schools being closed does not mean we’re not providing education and supports for kids,” Jordan said in an interview with the Kansas Farm Bureau. The interview can be viewed here. Last week, Gov. Laura Kelly ordered schools closed to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Since then, school officials have been cleaning buildings, distributing meals to students and preparing continuous learning plans that will...

Read more...

COVID and Kansas public education

KASB has prepared a summary of what has transpired during this unprecedented disruption of public education and this historic response by educators, policymakers and everyday citizens across Kansas. We hope this handy guide to documents and policies will help as we go forward and continue teaching the next generation of Kansans. School closure for health and safety  Commission of Education Randy Watson “strongly recommends” public schools close for two weeks. (March 16)  Statewide organizations representing school boards, teachers and administrators offer support and guidance for dealing with school closure. Joint statement by Education Organizations, March 16. (KASB COVID-Resources page)  Governor Laura Kelly orders...

Read more...