KASB Daily Education Roundup, Tue. March 26Scott Rothschild
After passing an education policy bill, SB 16, with multiple requirements for school reporting, studies and program requirements, the Kansas House adjourned Tuesday without voting on how to respond to the Gannon school finance case. No vote is scheduled for today, and the House will not meet again until Monday, with the adjournment of the regular Legislative session April 5.
The Kansas Senate has already passed a bill, SB 142, that adjusts school district foundation aid to add about $90 million a year to the five-year funding plan approved last session to meet the inflation adjustment requested by the Kansas Supreme Court. That level of funding was recommended by the Kansas State Board of Education and Gov. Laura Kelly.
The House K-12 Education Budget Committee recommended an alternative bill, HB 2395 that provided the same level of funding for the next two years (2019-20 and 2020-21). But it provided no addition inflation adjustments in 2021-22 and 2022-23 and repealed the final two steps in the five-year plan, as well as future automatic adjustments in base state aid.
The House bill also spends about half of the additional funding over the next two years on a new behavioral mental health weighting and higher at-risk weighting.
House leaders never brought that bill up for a vote, which means there is no “House position” for negotiations with the Senate.
The Senate received the House version of SB 16 on Tuesday and is expected to non-concur in House amendments and request a conference committee. It is not known if the conference committee will meet over the next two days when the full House and Senate are not meeting.
The House and Senate are far apart on many positions. The Senate has passed the $90 million a year inflation factor in SB 142, and its version of SB 16 contained only a minor adjustment to at-risk weighting. The rest of K-12 funding, including all programs under the Kansas State Department of Education, were included in its “mega” budget bill.
The House amended a number of policy items that have never been considered by the Senate into SB 16. All of its K-12 funding, including the KSDE budget, was included in HB 2395, which has not been considered. Therefore, the House budget bill does not include any K-12 appropriations.
The House and Senate did reach agreement on one issue: school safety drills. SB 128, which requires districts to conduct a minimum of four fire drills, three crisis drills, and two tornado drills each year, passed the House 123-1 on Tuesday, sending the bill to the governor.
The House never took action on SB 7, which would give local school boards the flexibility on when to elect board officers and when elections to change local voting plans can be held. That means the issue will be dead for the session, unless the Senate seeks to include it in a conference committee report.
A video wrap-up of Tuesday’s developments can be seen here.