KASB Daily Education Roundup, Wed. Jan. 15

Gov. Laura Kelly on Wednesday described restoring school funding and winning Kansas Supreme Court approval last year to the bi-partisan school finance plan as the top accomplishments of her tenure as governor.

In delivering her second State of the State address, Kelly also pushed for Medicaid expansion, a new transportation plan, property tax relief and a food sales tax refund. She vowed to veto any tax cut that “throws our state back into fiscal crisis, or debt, or sends us back to court for under-funding our schools.”

On Thursday, Kelly will unveil her proposed budget, which is expected to include fully funding the court-approved phased-in increases for K-12 education.

In other education news, three legislative committees have scheduled meetings next week on the recent at-risk funding audit by the Legislative Division of Post Audit. The audit questioned how schools were spending at-risk funds but state education officials said the funds had been properly used.

The House Education Committee will hear a presentation on the audit¬† on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the committee will hear presentations by the Dyslexia Task Force and Bullying Task Force. Here is a link to the committee’s weekly agenda. The House K-12 Budget Committee will consider at-risk funding on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here is a link to its weekly agenda. On Thursday, the Senate Education Committee will take up the audit.

Here is a link to a blog by Mark Tallman, associate executive director for advocacy at KASB, on the impact of at-risk dollars funding.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, D-Topeka, introduced legislation (SB 271) sought by schools to repeal a sunset provision that would end high density at-risk weighting. Education officials said the weighting must be kept in state law to abide by the court’s decision in the Gannon case.

Earlier Wednesday, KASB and USA-Kansas started its annual Advocacy in Action Conference. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Secretary of State Scott Schwab addressed the event and then school board members and administrators visited legislators and attended committee meetings in the Statehouse. The conference continues Thursday with numerous sessions on top education topics.

Here is a link to a story on the conference and here is a link to a Facebook Live discussion on the day’s events with KASB President Shannon Kimball, KASB Executive Director John Heim, Tallman and USA-Kansas Executive Director G.A. Buie.

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