Status of education bills as House and Senate take break

As the full House and Senate go on a short break until Monday, here is the status of major education bills. Education advocates are urged to contact their legislators to talk about K-12 finance, resolving the Gannon lawsuit and the many policy provisions in SB 16. On funding, KASB urges support of SB 142, which includes the four-year inflation adjustment supported by the State Board of Education, Gov. Laura Kelly and the Senate. KASB opposes HB 2395. On policy provisions, KASB opposes many of the provisions of SB 16.

House – No action on Substitute for HB 2395 (Funding); leaves House with no position. 

  • Response to Gannon. Provides approximately the same increase in foundation aid in 2020 and 2021 as the Senate-passed SB 142, but $20 million for new Behavioral Mental Health Weighting and increase in at-risk weighting from 0.484 to 0.51 results in lower base increase (more weighted students). These weighting changes use about 50 percent of additional funding. No additional increases in FY 2022 and FY 2023. 
  • Future base adjustments. Repeals scheduled base increase in 2022 and 2023 passed as part of last session’s Gannon response; repeals future CPI adjustments in base and artificial Local Option Budget base. 
  • Overall funding changes. A result, the bill provides approximately $90 million more than current law in both FY 2020 and 2021 in foundation aid. As proposed by the State Board of Education and Governor and approved by the Senate, SB 142 would provide a further additional $90 million more than current law in FY 2022 and 2023. As passed by committee, HB 2395 would provide approximately $100 million less than current law FY 2022 and $200 million less than current law in FY 2023. 
  • Behavioral Health Weighting. Creates new weighting 0.015 for each student in a school with Behavioral Mental Health liaison and agreements with community mental health centers, based on a pilot program started this year in selected districts. The program is capped at $20 million in FY 2020 and 2021 by proviso but is not capped in future years. It is estimated that the applying this program to every school would require approximately $37 million, but would take several years to phase in. (Original bill weighting was 0.5.) 
  • At-risk weighting. Adds some additional requirements for use of at-risk weighting. 
  • Dyslexia teacher training. Provide $800,000 additional funding for professional development for training in the identification of dyslexia and effective reading interventions, to be distributed by the State Board of Education. 
  • Safety grants. Continues $5 million in school safety grants in FY 2020, for the acquisition and installation of security cameras and any other equipment and services necessary for security monitoring and for securing doors and windows of facilities. 
  • Teach for America. Provides $260,000 for second year funding of Teach for America Program.
  • KASB believes this bill would fall far short of adequate funding defined by the Kansas Supreme Court. Not only would it provide only two years of the four-year inflation adjustment proposed by the State Board, recommended by the Governor and adopted by the Senate; it would remove the final two steps in the five-year plan adopted by the 2018 Legislature and the automatic future inflation adjustment in base state aid using the consumer price index. 
  • It is important to remember the five-year plan was proposed by the Legislature to provide constitutionally adequate funding based on restoring 2009 funding levels after adjusting for inflation. 

House passed Substitute for SB 16 (Policy); in conference Committee (Baumgardner, Denning, Hensley; Williams, Hoffman, Winn) 

  • Accountability Report Cards. Sec. 1 – Directs KSDE to prepare a new accountability report based on federal requirements and State Board college and career measures. 
  • Already required under federal law; State Department is developing new report. 
  • Funding to meet adequacy standards. Sec. 2 – Directs local boards to certify they have allocated sufficient money to have students who are not meeting the “Rose standards” achieve that goal. 
  • KASB does not believe the impact of this provision is clear; boards cannot allow sufficient money for meeting goals if the funding is not sufficient; and cannot reallocate funding to certain areas when many operations costs are required. 
  • Free ACT. Sec. 3 – Puts in law state payment of ACT and Workkeys tests for all students (once). 
  • KASB supports this provision. 
  • Graduation requirements study. Sec. 4 – Directs State Board to study graduation requirements, including possible inclusion of financial literacy and computer science. 
  • IT education. Sec. 5 – Creates IT education standards advisory commission. 
  • Website reports. Sec. 6 and 8 – Directs certain reports be posted on both Department of Education and local district websites, with links titled “Accountability Reports.” 
  • Many of these reports are already required, but this could add some additional cost for website maintenance. 
  • Bullying Prevention. Sec. 7 and 22 – Directs State Department of Education to establish and maintain a statewide bullying prevention hotline and make reports to school districts where bullying has been reported, if possible. Amends the current state bullying law to add requirements to school district bullying prevention plans, including consequences and remedial action, reporting and investigation procedures, appropriate responses, and posting the plan and statewide bullying hotline on the district website. 
  • The Commissioner of Education has appointed force to study bullying issues. KASB suggests these proposals should be evaluated by that group. 
  • Special education aid. Sec. 9 – Repeals 92 percent of excess cost target for special education aid. Does not change amount of aid but removes the expressed goal of 92 percent funding. 
  • KASB opposes removing this target for funding special education, which have been made in last least 10 years. 
  • Tax credits for private schools. Sec. 10-11 – Amends the tax credits for private school scholarship program to make eligibility based on students attending the lowest performing (on state tests) elementary schools, rather than all schools under current law. 
  • Out-of-state students funding. Sec. 12-13 – Repeals provision in last year’s school finance that would reduce state funding for out-of-state students enrolling in Kansas. As a result, non-Kansans would continue to be counted the same as state residents. 
  • KASB supports. 
  • Bilingual weighting time limit. Sec. 15 – Limits bilingual participation for weighting to seven years (up from four in original HB 2395 and five as recommended by committee). 
  • KASB opposes this change before receiving the results of the Legislative Post Audit study of bilingual education. 
  • Kansans Can. Sec. 16 – Repeals reference in statute to Kansans Can outcomes (social emotional learning, kindergarten readiness, individual plans of study, graduation rates and postsecondary success). 
  • KASB supports Kansans Can and its outcomes; unclear why this is proposed. 
  • Financial reports. Sec. 17 – Adds several items to financial data schools must report on the KSDE and district website, including funds spent on school finance lawsuits since 2010. 
  • This provision could increase local accounting requirements and costs. 
  • Cash balances audit. Sec. 18 – Directs the Division of Legislative Post Audit to study unencumbered cash balances, to be completed no later than 2021. The bill does NOT limit district cash balances to 15% of operating expenditures, based on average of monthly reporting, excluding capital outlay and bond funds only, as proposed the original HB 2395. 
  • Counting JAG-K. Sec. 19 – Includes Jobs for America’s Graduates funding as that should be counted toward suitable education funding. (Original SB 16 as passed by Senate) 
  • State bond cap modified. Sec. 20 – Amends the state bond cap to exclude maintenance or repair of facilities. 
  • KASB supports. 
  • Transportation under 2.5 miles. Sec. 22 – Sec. 23 – Requires districts to provide transportation of students living within 2.5 miles of schools if there is no safe pedestrian route, as defined in the bill, if it does not increase transportation costs. 
  • KASB opposes. Although the bill says students would not have to be transported if it creates additional costs, there are many questions. For example, if schools could transport some additional students at no costs, but not all, how should students be determined? 
  • Dyslexia Task Force. Sec. 24 – Extends Dyslexia Task Force to 2022. 
  • KASB supports. 

The bill does NOT include the following items contained in the original HB 2395. 

  • Bullying task force. Legislative Task Force on bullying prevention and adds requirements to school district bullying plans. (Commissioner of Education has also announced creation of bullying task force.) 
  • Private school scholarships, public school transfers for bullying. Hope Scholarship program to transfer base state aid amounts to private school scholarships for student determined to be victims of bullying after investigation (appeal to school board); private schools not required to accept such students, but another public school district must accept such students as transfers; home school must provide student with report on how district is addressing the issue if they do not transfer to a private school or another school district. 
  • Roofing contracts. Prohibiting school districts from specifying any proprietary product, material or installation method for roofing bids; requires districts in metropolitan areas of at least 50,000 people to receive at least three bids if specifying particular roofing product, material or installation method; allow school district to aware contract to higher bidder if the board determines that quality, suitability and usability of the product, material or  installation method is superior. 

Other bills in Second House: 

SB 7 – School board organization date; voting plan elections. No action on House General Orders; referred to Appropriations, now exempt. 

SB 128 – Crisis drills. Passed House, no amendments, to Governor.  

SB 142 – State Board/Governor’s school finance inflation response to Gannon lawsuit. In House K-12 Education Budget, hearing held, motion to advance failed. 

SB 235 – Continuing 20 mill statewide levy for schools and exempting certain portion of property used for residential purposes from such levy. Passed Senate today, 29-0. 

HB 2360 – Background checks. On Senate General Orders; not exempt. 

HB 2346 – Vision screening amendments. Hearing held in Senate Education; no action. 

HB 2214 – As amended by Senate, substitute bill raises fees for electric and hybrid vehicles; original House bill on school bus fuel tax. Passed Senate; motion to concur/nonconcur pending. 

Other bills in First House: 

HB 2361 – Creating conditions for the administration of certain tests, questionnaires, surveys and examinations. On House General Orders, exempt. 

HB 2354 – Broadens the concept of school-sponsored activity, as it pertains to insurance coverage, to include secondary students’ participation in an employer’s “work-based learning program.” Referred by House Committee of the Whole back to Commerce. Exempt. 

SB 38 – Unemployment compensation for school bus drivers. Hearing held in Senate Commerce; no action. 

SB 175 – Public employee union dues. Hearing held in Senate Commerce 

Session schedule: 

March 27 – Last day for consideration of non-exempt bills in either house. 

March 28, 29 – No sessions. 

April 1-2 – Conference committees meet. 

April 3 – Last day for conference committee agreements. 

April 4-5 – Consideration of conference committee reports. 

April 5 – First Adjournment. 

May 1 – Return from Spring Break, begin veto session of Day 74 of session. 

May 17 – Final day of session (Day 90). 

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