Teacher Issues

KASB releases report on school district health insurance plans

KASB has recently conducted an anonymous survey of school districts on their health insurance plans.  KASB received 137 responses, which represents 47.9 percent of Kansas’ 286 school districts. Here is a link to the full report.  Asked if they were part of a pool or self-insured, 44 percent of those who answered said they part of a pool.  The report also found:  — The most common deductible for individual insurance plans was between $501 and $1,000, while the most common deductible for family insurance plans was between $2,001 and $3,000.  — The most common out-of-pocket maximum for individuals was between $5,001 and $7,500 while...

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Abilene follows strategic plan for community priorities

A strategic plan developed by the Abilene USD 435 community in 2013 has the district poised to enter the state's new accreditation system and focus on individual student needs.  The Abilene administration team, led by Superintendent Denise Guy with Assistant Superintendent Chris Cooper and principals from the district's elementary, middle and high school, sat down with KASB to discuss the district's goals, successes and challenges.  A community engagement process four years ago, assisted by the KASB Leadership Services department, identified goals that "amazingly enough, were very similar to the state's roadmap" for Kansans Can and the accreditation system beginning this year,...

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Mental health advisory council close to making recommendations

The Kansas School Mental Health Advisory Council is getting close to making recommendations on ways to improve training for school workers in numerous areas.  The council met Tuesday and worked in small groups to discuss ways to form an integrated system of mental health training that would include programs addressing bullying, suicide, child sexual abuse and other forms of trauma.  Members of the council have repeatedly emphasized they want to help teachers and others benefit from effective training instead of burdening educators with mandated programs.  “We want a healthy mental health culture at our schools,” said Chair Kathy Busch, who also serves...

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KPERS report shows looming liabilities and positive investment growth

The annual update on the KPERS fund to the Joint Committee on Pensions, Investments and Benefits was a mix of still looming realities of the unfunded actuarial liabilities along with some positive indicators in the investment portfolio performance.  In 1993, the Legislature set a 40-year, closed amortization period as a plan to fully fund the System by 2033. This plan includes a "Level percent of pay" amortization methodology which results in an increase in the dollar amount of unfunded actuarial liability over more than half of the amortization period, even if full actuarial required contribution rate is paid. At its current...

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KASB Countdown to Conference: 1970s saw refinement of changes

In the run up to the 100th annual KASB Conference, Dec. 1-3 in Wichita, KASB will overview highlights of education history.  Following a decade of great change in the 1960s, the 1970s saw further refinement of those changes in Kansas education and KASB.  In 1970, Kansas recorded its highest number of public school students — 548,231 — and KASB remodeled its building to add an IBM System 3 computer, which was initially used to disseminate school board policies.  The following year, the school retirement system merged into the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System.   In 1972, KASB became incorporated and Dr. Robert Haderlein...

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KASB Countdown to Conference: Modern education began in the ’60s

In the run up to the 100th annual KASB Conference, Dec. 1-3 in Wichita, KASB will overview highlights of education history. Much of what public education in Kansas is today, got its start in the 1960s.  Major changes on the national and state level and in KASB occurred during that decade and continue to shape our public schools.  During the 1960s, consolidation hit Kansas like a tsunami, federal court decisions upended the status quo and educational TV and computerization ushered in the modern age of information sharing.   In 1960, Kansas had 2,000 school districts and KASB existed on a budget of $7,500 with only...

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Buhler High School’s Samantha Neill named 2018 Kansas Teacher of the Year

Samantha “Sam” Neill, an English language arts teacher at Buhler High School, Buhler USD 313, has been named the 2018 Kansas Teacher of the Year. “Samantha exemplifies all that is great about Kansas’ education and the teaching profession,” said Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson during the announcement ceremony on Saturday in Wichita. “She possesses the courage to tackle hard challenges, and she has an innovative spirit that is infectious and deeply rooted in the need to ensure each of her students becomes successful. Samantha is a leader, not only in her classroom, but throughout the school and community,” Watson said. Neill was...

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Watson outlines licensure proposal

Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson this week outlined an additional avenue for a limited number of alternative teacher licenses. Watson said his proposal would make the teaching field more accessible to professionals and help alleviate persistent teacher shortages in Kansas. Alternative teacher licensing proposals often draw opposition from higher education and teacher organizations, who are concerned about lowering standards for the profession.  “In no way am I advocating hiring more non-licensed people,” he said in an interview with KASB.  KSDE currently sanctions 13 routes to the classroom for in-state teachers, out-of-state teachers, non-teachers with occupational experience, skills or distinction in their...

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November issue of KASB’s School Board Review is online

The November issue of School Board Review, which highlights KASB’s 100th Celebration, is online and will soon be in your mailboxes.  The issue covers landmark legal decisions on education, including a column by KASB Executive Director John Heim on the Brown v. Board decision that desegregated public schools.  The issue also looks at student fees, provides an update on KASB Board actions, school finance and numerous other issues facing K-12 education in Kansas.  In addition, the issue focuses on KASB’s 100th annual conference that will be held Dec. 1-3 in Wichita. We hope you enjoy School Board Review and please submit any...

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State Board of Education to receive update on formation of school finance interim committee

The State Board of Education on Tuesday will receive an update on the decision by legislative leaders to appoint an interim committee to address the Kansas Supreme Court’s school finance ruling.  The Special Committee on a Comprehensive Response to the School Finance Decision will study the court decision and consider options, including a possible amendment to the Kansas Constitution to alter the provision that deals with education funding. An amendment to the constitution would require a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate before it could be placed on the ballot for voters to decide.  The committee, which has been allotted...

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