Many new education bills being considered this week

New Bills with Hearings this week 

(Monday) 

Teacher Liability Protection 

HB 2572, introduced by and referred to House Education, hearing held Mon. Feb. 10. Creates the Educator Protection Act and establishes the Kansas Educator liability Fund to provides excess professional liability insurance coverage for all teachers and student teachers, subject to appropriations, to protect against damages for claims arising out of the performance of their duties as teachers and student teachers within the scope of their employment. The fund is to be administered by the Insurance Commissioner and no premium or fee shall be changed to any full or part-time teachers and student teachers. 

School Bus Cameras 

HB 2532, introduced by and referred to House Judiciary, hearing held Mon. Feb. 10, 3:30 p.m. Authorized the Kansas State Department of Education to contract with vendors to install and maintain school bus stop signal recording devices and to allow KSDE to assess a civil penalty of $250.00. The civil penalty would be paid to the school bus safety and education fund. 

(Tuesday) 

Civics test required for high school graduation 

HB 2573, introduced by and referred to House Education. scheduled Hearing in Education: Tue. Feb. 11, 1:30 p.m. Rm 218-N. Requires that after July 1, 2020 that all students enrolled in grade nine in all accredited schools would be required to pass an exam on the principles of American civics in order to graduate. The student can take it as many times as needed and as early as the 7th grade.  The exam is required to be 100 questions similar to the questions used for United States citizenship and immigration services. 

 (Wednesday) 

Student Right to Know Act 

HB 2519, introduced by and referred to House Education, hearing scheduled Wed. Feb. 12, 1:30 p.m. The bill creates the Students’ Right to Know Act; relating to the publication of certain information regarding postsecondary education. It requires KSDE to create an online Student Graduation Scorecard data base on highest need jobs, student loan debt, loan default rates, graduations rates for postsecondary institutions, average salary on graduations, college courses of study, etc. plus 25 other data points to be made available to students and guidance counselors. 

Capital Improvement Aid 

HB 2526, introduced by and referred to House K-12 Education Budget, scheduled hearing Wed. Feb. 12, 3:30 p.m., Rm 546-S. Amends the school district capital improvements state aid determination procedures to provide that in general obligation bonds approved on or after July 1, 2020, the state board shall exclude USD 207, Fort Leavenworth from the schedule and the amount of AVPP of the district with the lowest AAVPP of the  remaining districts shall be the point of beginning. The effect would be to increase capital improvement aid for districts because the starting point would be a much valuation per pupil. It also addresses the fact that because valuation in USD 207, a military base, does increase and most other districts have increasing valuation per pupil over time, current law reduces state equalization aid for most districts over time. 

SB 382, introduced by and referred to Senate Education. Identical to HB 2526. Amends the school district capital improvements state aid determination procedures to provide that in general obligation bonds approved on or after July 1, 2020, the state board shall exclude USD 207, Fort Leavenworth from the schedule and the amount of AVPP of the district with the lowest AAVPP of the  remaining districts shall be the point of beginning. The effect would be to increase capital improvement aid for districts because the starting point would be a much valuation per pupil. It also addresses the fact that because valuation in USD 207, a military base, does increase and most other districts have increasing valuation per pupil over time, current law reduces state equalization aid for most districts over time. 

Dues for Public Professional Organizations 

SB 361, introduced by Senate Assessment and Taxation, referred to Senate Commerce, hearing scheduled Wed. Feb. 12, 8:30 a.m., Rm 548-S. The bill amends state law concerning due paid by professional public employees to employee associations or unions. Specifically, it amends the professional negations act for school boards and teachers by specifying that teacher may at any time immediately cease payment of such dues by notifying the board of education and requires board to notify the association and stop withholding dues. It also requires board to provide certain notices to their teachers about their right to refrain from membership in such organizations. 

HB 2586, introduced by and referred to House Commerce, Labor and Economic Development, scheduled Hearing Wed. Feb. 12, 1:30 p.m., Rm 112-N. This is the same as SB 361 which amends KSA 72-2219 to allow school professional employees to notify the school district or community college that they want to immediately cease their withholding of dues to the teacher’s union. It requires the school employer to then notify the union that the employee has authorized the district to not withhold the union dues. This also would apply to other public employees. 

(Thursday) 

Cigarettes and e-cigarettes; age of purchase, prohibited in schools 

HB 2563, introduced by and referred to House Federal and State Affairs, hearing scheduled Thur. Feb. 13, 9 a.m., Rm 346-S. Prohibits the use of cigarette, electronic cigarettes, consumable material and tobacco products in any school building. Also amends the law to prohibit selling electronic cigarettes containing flavored materials except for menthol flavored consumable material to anyone under 21 and amends the criminal statutes to include selling and using electronic cigarettes to those under 21. 

Immunizations required for school and child care attendance 

HB 2601, introduced by and referred to House Education, hearing scheduled Feb. 13. Amends the immunization statute for schools and child care facilities to list the 11 immunizations required for students enrolling the first time and gives the secretary of Health the authority to adopt rules and regs. to add to or delete a specific immunization based on imminent danger to the public or if it is deemed not needed or unsafe. 

Reading Interventions and Private School Vouchers 

HB 2552, co-sponsored by Reps. Renee Erickson, R-Wichita, and Kristey Williams, R-Augusta, and referred to the K-12 Education Budget Committee, scheduled for a hearing Thur. Feb. 13. 3:30 p.m. 

Creates the Kansas reading readiness act. Provides that any public school student who scores at the lowest level on the state English Language Arts assessment in third or fourth grade would be given two options. 

First, the student could receive an amount of funding equal to base state aid to cover the cost of attending an accredited private school. 

Second, an amount equal to at-risk weighting (0.484 multiplied by base state aid) could be set aside in an account from which the school district must “provide those evidence based practices and programs requested by the parent of such eligible student to the extent the cost of such practices or programs is covered by moneys transferred to such student’s account.” 

In the second case, the district could “recommend evidence based practices and programs to improve such eligible student’s reading skills, but shall obtain the parent’s approval for such practices or programs prior to the expenditure of any moneys held in such student’s account for such practices or programs.” 

In both cases, these amounts would be removed from school district foundation state aid and set aside in accounts administered by the state treasurer, with up to 5 percent of funds in the first two year and up to 2.5 percent of funds in future years subtracted for administrative costs. The accounts would be used either for private school costs or evidence-based programs or practice in the school district. 

Other New Bills, no hearings scheduled 

School Budgets Allocation of Funds 

SB 353, introduced by and referred to the Senate Committee on Education, makes two changes to the school district budget law. 

First, current law requires school boards to annually conduct an assessment of the educational needs of each attendance center in the district, which is to be used by the board when preparing the budget of the school district. The bill adds a requirement that the needs-assessment shall be used by the board in preparing the budget “to ensure improvement in student academic performance.” 

Second, the bill directs districts to “allocate sufficient moneys in a manner reasonably calculated such that all students may achieve the goal set forth in K.S.A. 72-3218(c).”  

That goal is provide “each and every child with at least the following capacities: (1) Sufficient oral and written communication skills to enable students to function in a complex and rapidly changing civilization; (2) sufficient knowledge of economic, social, and political systems to enable the student to make informed choices; (3) sufficient understanding of governmental processes to enable the student to understand the issues that affect his or her community, state, and nation; (4) sufficient self-knowledge and knowledge of his or her mental and physical wellness; (5) sufficient grounding in the arts to enable each student to appreciate his or her cultural and historical heritage; (6) sufficient training or preparation for advanced training in either academic or vocational fields so as to enable each child to choose and pursue life work intelligently; and (7) sufficient levels of academic or vocational skills to enable public school students to compete favorably with their counterparts in surrounding states, in academics or in the job market. 

These capacities have been identified by the Kansas Supreme Court as the standards for measuring the adequacy of the school finance system. They are sometimes called the “Rose” capacities after a Kentucky Supreme Court decision in which they were first defined. The Kansas court adopted them during the nearly decade long Gannon litigation. 

The bill does not contain any enforcement mechanism or penalty, so it is unclear exactly what impact the bill would have, but presumably it could be used to argue lack of progress on achieving the Rose capacities would be a failure of districts to appropriately allocate funding, rather than adequate amounts of funding. 

Licensing for military spouses or individuals 

SB 366, introduced by and referred to Senate Commerce. Allows military spouses or individuals who have established or intends to establish residency in Kansas to practice their profession if they hold a valid current license, registration or certification in another state if they do not have a criminal record. This would apply to the Kansas State Board of Education and 20 other state licensing agencies and boards. 

Foster children educational reporting 

SB 384, introduced by and referred to Senate Education. Requires Kansas State Department of Education and Department of Children and Families to prepare an annual report on educational outcome data for foster care students to include graduation rate, promotion, suspensions expulsions, standardized test scores and the number meeting standards and the number and percentage of foster care students enrolled. 

KPERS Early Payment of Deferred Contributions 

HB 2552, introduced by and referred to House Appropriations, would transfer $268 million from the state general fund to the KPERS fund, paying off previously delayed payment for employee contributions that were scheduled to be repaid over 20 years with interest. The effect would be to increase current year spending from the state general fund but reduce future payments and interest costs. The Governor recommended this action, as well as reamortization of KPERS long-term debt, which is not in this bill. 

SB 368, introduced by Sen. Denning and others; referred to Senate Ways and Means.  Appears the same as HB 2552, except contains an introductory set of “whereas” clauses. 

Sports Head Injuries 

HB 2574, introduced by House Education, referred to House Health and Human Services. Amends the School Sports Head Injury Prevention Act to require schools to establish a concussion education program for parents, athletes and school employees to review the schools policies and procedures on the prevention and management of concussions. The school must appoint a concussion management team, including a licensed athletic trainer, athletic director, designated teacher, licensed school counselor and administrator and nurse, to establish return-to-play protocols based on scientific evidence based practices and a return-to learn protocol. Training requirements are established, and seven individuals are designated to determine when an athlete shall be removed from any activity if they believe the athlete may have sustained a concussion during the game or in practice. 

Behavioral Health Weighting 

HB 2582, introduced by and referred to House K-12 Education Budget. Creates a behavioral health intervention weighting only if the school district has a behavioral health intervention team program available to improve the social-emotional wellness and outcomes for students by increasing access to counselors, social workers and psychologists. Part of the revenues would go to community mental health centers. The district’s priorities with the program and weightings would be for students in the custody of the Department of Children and Families, then for students receiving family preservation services, and then all other students. 

Student athlete participation based on birth gender 

HB 2589, introduced by Rep. Michael Capps and others, referred to House Judiciary. Requires the Kansas State High School Activities Association and member school districts to only allow students to participate in gender specific interscholastic events and athletic activities based upon the student’s biological gender at birth. 

 

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