KASB’s Daily Education Roundup, Wed. March 20

The Kansas House on Wednesday gave preliminary approval to expand Medicaid, a move and debate that caused the House K-12 Education Budget to postpone until Thursday (March 21) its work on a school finance plan.

The House is scheduled Thursday to take a final vote on the Medicaid expansion, which would extend health care coverage to 130,000 low income Kansans. Advocates of Medicaid expansion say it will help not only adults, but also children to receive needed health care, which in turn will help them in school. The measure was placed as an amendment, replacing the contents of HB 2066.

Shortly after the House acts on Thursday, the K-12 committee is set to determine what school finance plan to recommend to the full House. The committee has held hearings on SB 142, which provides the inflation adjustment, continues previously approved increases and is supported by KASB, Gov. Laura Kelly and the State Board of Education, and HB 2395, which is opposed by KASB and numerous education groups.

HB 2395 provides two years of the inflation adjustment but then cuts off the adjustment and future increases already approved. The House bill, supported by the committee Chair Kristey Williams, R-Augusta, also includes numerous policy provisions opposed by school advocates, including a private school voucher plan for bullied students, cap on school district cash balances and provisions governing how school boards go out for roofing bids.

In other education-related news, the House Education Committee unanimously recommended to the full House, SB 128, which reduces the number of safety drills to 9 from this year’s total of 16. KASB supports the bill. And House Appropriations placed a proviso in the state budget bill calling on Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson to report to legislators next year on the progress made by an anti-bullying task force.

For a wrap-up of the day’s events, go to this link.

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