KASB Daily Education Roundup, Mon. March 25

The Kansas House on Monday gave preliminary approval to SB 16 shortly before midnight and then adjourned before taking up HB 2395.

The House will take final action on SB 16 Tuesday (March 26) and HB 2395 was listed as last among a list of 15 measures up for possible debate.

SB 16 contains numerous education policy provisions and HB 2395 is the House GOP leadership’s school finance plan.

School board members are urged to contact their legislators through text or phone calls to encourage them to vote against both bills.

The House advanced SB 16 on a 63-60 vote. Since it takes at least 63 votes to approve a bill in the House, a switch of one vote on final action could derail the legislation.

SB 16, as heavily amended by the House K-12 Education Budget Committee, contains a number of policy changes. KASB supports some of those provisions, but opposes others, including removal of the 92 percent of excess special education funding target and new requirements on local transportation policies.

KASB believes SB 16 should not be considered until the school funding issue is resolved.

On HB 2395, KASB believes it will fall short of what is needed to resolve the Gannon school finance lawsuit. The bill provides funding for only the first two years of an inflation adjustment to the school finance plan passed least session, then eliminates the final two years of that plan, as well as a cost of living adjustment for future years.

As a result, KASB believes it would worsen the state’s position with the court, leave funding below previous constitutional levels after adjustment for inflation, and likely leave Kansas per pupil funding below other states in the nation and region. KASB supports SB 142, which contains the recommendation to address Gannon proposed by the State Board of Education, recommended by Gov. Laura Kelly and passed by the Senate on a bi-partisan 32-8 vote.

During debate Monday on SB 16, Rep. Jerry Stogsdill, D-Prairie Village, tried to reinstate due process procedures for teachers, but his amendment failed 55-68. In another amendment, state Rep. Shannon Francis, R-Liberal, successfully increased a limit on bilingual participation for weighting from five years to seven years.

In other business, the House advanced SB 128, which would require at least nine safety drills to be conducted by schools each year including fire, tornado and crisis drills. KASB supports this change to reduce what school leaders believe was an unintentionally excessive number of drills this year. If approved on final action, the bill would go to Gov. Kelly.

The House skipped over SB 7, which would allow school boards to set the date of electing their officers. The bill also wasn’t put on Tuesday’s House calendar.

In other education-related news, Kelly vetoed SB 22, which would have cut taxes by approximately $200 million in the next fiscal year, delivering most of those cuts to corporations. KASB opposed SB 22, saying the cuts would have made it more difficult to provide school funding and shore up other needed areas of the budget.

Here is a short video wrap-up of Monday’s action in the Legislature.

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