KASB’s Daily Education Roundup, Tue. Feb. 19

The Senate Education Committee on Tuesday recommended approval of legislation that would require schools conduct at least nine safety drills.

SB 128 would require four fire drills, three crisis drills and two tornado drills. Last year a proviso had been placed in the budget requiring 16 safety drills, including nine crisis or shooter drills. Some schools said that was too many. KASB supported the bill.

The committee also approved SB 16, which adds Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas and the Boys and Girls Club to a list of groups that can be funded by school districts with at-risk dollars. KASB testified as neutral.

The committee also heard SB 148, which would impose new requirements on the competitive bidding process of school districts. The bill stemmed from a dispute between a roofing company and a Johnson County school district. KASB opposes the measure, saying it was onerous and usurped local control.

In House K-12 Education Budget, the committee heard HB 2257 on school district bullying policies. KASB supported the bill but expressed some concerns. KASB’s Mark Tallman also briefed the committee on state performance data.

Earlier Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee recommended approval of SB 9, which would allot $115 million to cover a missed payment to the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. Chairman Troy Waymaster, R-Bunker Hill, said he wants the bill to go the full House and Gov. Laura Kelly’s desk as soon as possible.

State Rep. Henry Helgerson, D-Wichita, said the $115 million payment combined with Senate Republican leadership’s insistence on a $190 million tax cut, mostly for corporations, and mostly GOP rejection of Kelly’s KPERS refinancing plan, which would have provided more than $170 million in available revenue, is quickly depleting the state’s bank account.

Enhancements for many areas of the government haven’t been provided yet, such as public schools, social services and public safety. Waymaster argued there are still areas of the budget that will produce revenue needed for budget enhancements and state Rep. Steve Johnson, R-Assaria, said it made better financial sense for the state to pay off KPERS, which was gathering interest, than another proposal from Kelly, to pay off a no-interest loan from the Pooled Money Investment Board.

A video wrap-up of the day’s activities and preview of tomorrow can be seen on the KASB Facebook page.

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