Numerous education issues tackled at KASB Board, Legislative Committee and Workers Comp meetings

School board leaders from across Kansas tackled numerous education issues Saturday during the KASB Board, Legislative Committee and Workers Compensation Board of Trustees meetings. 

The Board of Directors was joined by the Legislative Committee for an advocacy and communications update and discussion of anticipated topics for the 2020 legislative session. The Legislative Committee then met separately to start work on KASB’s advocacy positions. 

The balance of the Board of Directors meeting included reports from staff on results from the Summer 2019 Regional Roundtable discussions, the agenda for upcoming Fall Regional Roundtable meetings and a review of the new KASB Pathways and workshop and seminar schedule for 2019-2020. 

Randy Weseman, assistant executive director for leadership services, provided an overview of school safety meeting and trainings scheduled for September and October. 

The three-hour evening sessions will give local school board members the opportunity to discuss what measures schools are taking – and should be taking – to secure their schools. On Oct. 28, KASB is sponsoring a day-long training on threat assessment. Weseman said the threat assessment training is for teams from districts and other KASB organizations and will be based on the Virginia Threat Assessment Model. 

Also at the board meeting, Dr. John Heim, KASB executive director, reviewed recent research conducted by the association on the annual conference and delegate assembly, and provided a report on Envise, a partnership between KASB and the Nebraska and Oklahoma school board associations that developed the association’s new data management system, PinPoint AMS. 

The board also received a report on the KASB office construction project completed this summer and reviewed recommended changes to association policies. Reports were given on recent NSBA meetings attended by KASB board leadership and board vice-president seats up for election in December. 

Meanwhile, the Legislative Committee worked on policy proposals that will also be discussed at KASB’s Fall Regional meetings in September and October. The committee will meet again in November to finalize recommendations to the Delegate Assembly at KASB’s annual convention in December in Wichita. The Delegate Assembly will vote on the policy positions that will guide KASB advocacy efforts during the 2020 legislative session, which starts in January.  

In discussions Saturday, committee members said reducing vaping, expanding Medicaid and special education funding were among the major concerns in their communities. 

The committee also said it will continue discussions for possible recommendations on bullying, immigration and several other issues.  

A state task force has been working on bullying and will provide recommendations on policies, best practices, legislation and training to the State Board of Education. Legislative committee members said proposals to reduce bullying should be evidence-based and involve communication with parents and the community. KASB President-Elect Designee Lori Blake, who is a member of the Southeast of Saline USD 306 board, serves on the state task force, as well as KASB’s Donna Whiteman, associate executive director/legal services.  

On vaping, a coalition of education and health groups will push for legislation next session to increase the minimum age in Kansas to purchase tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21. The Legislative Committee will decide whether to endorse such legislation. 

A vaping task force has been formed by the State Board in the face of alarming increases in the number of young people using e-cigarettes. KASB has been part of the working group and advises boards and districts that wish to adopt or strengthen anti-smoking and anti-vaping policies. KASB Assistant Executive Director of Legal Services Angie Stallbaumer represents the association on the task force.  

On immigration, KASB issued a statement in July decrying inhumane conditions at facilities where immigrant children were being detained, particularly when separated from their families. KASB stands with the National School Boards Association in recognizing that the inhumane treatment of children and their families seeking entry or asylum into the United States is traumatic for the children and their families. Lack of adequate food, housing, health care, basic hygiene, educational services and social and emotional support causes trauma that severely inhibits children’s ability to learn and function.  

This issue is specifically a concern to KASB because some of these children have attended and will in the future attend Kansas schools. Because of these traumatic experiences, these children will require special attention to recover, learn and hopefully lead successful lives.   

In the adopted KASB 2019 Resolutions and Policies, KASB noted school districts are required to provide educational services of all students, regardless of their legal status. Discussion will continue on KASB’s immigration position. 

KASB members who wish to weigh in on any of these issues are urged to contact Leah Fliter, KASB advocacy and outreach specialist, at lfliter@kasb.org. 

The Workers Compensation Board of Trustees elected new officers — Paul Bruggeman as chairperson, and Denise Titus as vice-chairperson.

The board reviewed the 2019-20 Membership Report, end of the year actuarial report. The year-end audit was mentioned but since it is not complete it was not presented.The audit will be presented to the board no later than the end of September.

The trustees gave final approval to the 2019-20 budget, administrative contract and approved other standard reports.

Most of the meeting, the trustees held their annual orientation session. Every year the trustees review the Bylaws, Rules of Operation, Statute & Regulations. They also have guest speakers come in to review information from outside service agents that provide services to the Fund. The Board of Trustees next meeting with be at noon Friday, Jan. 10.

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