School finance to dominate committee work

Three committees will be working on pieces of the school finance puzzle today, the eighth day of the “veto” session and 51 days before a Kansas Supreme Court deadline to remedy the school funding system.

The House K-12 Education Budget Committee will try to wrap up work this morning on HB 2410, the now heavily amended proposal to restore many elements of the previous finance formula and add over $750 million in state aid over the next five years. If approved by the committee today, the bill could be debated on the House floor later this week.

Yesterday the committee added two controversial provisions. One requires school districts to transfer a portion of local foundation funding (currently the local option budget) to at-risk and bilingual programs. The second requires school districts to provide Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy to students with an autism spectrum disorder upon request of the parents, if ordered by licensed physician, psychologist, or specialist clinical social worker.

The Senate Select Committee on Education Finance will hold its first meeting of the veto session at 1:30 with an informational hearing on school accreditation and at-risk funding, including a presentation by Education Commissioner Randy Watson. KASB has also submitted testimony, which supports the Kansas State Board of Education new accountability and accreditation system and calls to increased funding to support the success of all students, including those currently performing lower than they peers.

Tomorrow, legislative counsel Jeff King will brief the Senate select committee on his analysis of the Gannon adequacy decision by the Kansas Supreme Court.

Finally, the House Taxation Committee holds a hearing at 3:30 on SB 146, which renews the statewide 20 mill levy for two years. The bill also contains a provision added by the Senate Assessment and Taxation Committee prohibiting local governments from abating the 20 mills for future economic development projects.

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