Newsroom Archive

COVID-19 testing, remote learning capabilities to receive boost

Gov. Laura Kelly and legislative leaders Thursday approved about $290 million in COVID-related spending, including $40 million for child supervision and remote learning. The unanimous decision by the State Finance Council represented the final installment of approximately $1 billion in federal CARES Act funding. In two earlier rounds, $400 million went to counties for COVID-19 expenses and $314 toward statewide priorities, including broadband connectivity and early childhood support. The biggest ticket item in Thursday’s action was $50 million to expand COVID-19 testing. Kelly and others said the expansion is needed to protect the public health and provide a truer assessment of...

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Governor’s Education Council forming recommendations to align education and economy

Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday praised the work of the Governor’s Council on Education that continues to put together proposals aimed at better aligning education and workforce needs. After hearing some of the council’s ideas, Kelly said the panel was forming “a really robust plan.” She told council members that some of the recommendations will probably require shifts in resources because additional revenues will be difficult to come up with because of the economic downtown from the COVID-19 pandemic. “If these things are higher priority … we’re going to have to make some very tough decisions, but I think in the long...

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FCC announces second round of ERate funding for on-campus connectivity

The Federal Communications Commission has announced an additional round of ERate funding to assist schools with on-campus internet connectivity needs. Applications are due by October 16.  The ERate program is funded by the Universal Service fee on phone bills. The program allows schools and libraries to receive a discount for high-speed broadband internet service. The 2020 funding cycle closed in April, but the FCC said need dictated the new round that closes in October.   “Across the country, students have started a new school year where connectivity is proving to be more critical than ever before, and many schools require additional bandwidth...

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KASB Advocacy Update at noon Friday will feature State Board Chair Kathy Busch

State Board of Education Chairwoman Kathy Busch will talk about several key K-12 issues during the KASB Advocacy Update at noon Friday (Sept. 18). To register for the meeting, go to this link. Several recent issues before the State Board of Education include the dyslexia timelines, delay of the Kansas Education Systems Accreditation process and remote learning logs. The meeting will be held online via Zoom. There is no registration fee, but pre-registration is required. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. The advocacy session is available to all who receive the KASB News...

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Education leaders discuss reopening plans during KASB `Lunch and Learn’

Three different districts with three different school reopening plans shared the same recipe for success — strong school boards, can-do staff and lots of community input. “The community involvement in Hesston has just blown us away,” said Layne Frick, a member of the Hesston USD 460 board. Frick, Hesston Superintendent Ben Proctor, Maize USD 266 Superintendent Chad Higgins and Emporia USD 253 Superintendent Kevin Case shared some of their experiences in reopening schools during KASB’s weekly “Lunch and Learn” zoom session on Wednesday. Hesston, a district with about 820 students 35 miles north of Wichita, decided to bring as many students back...

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Schools work on getting free meals to all students during pandemic

As food insecurity grows, K-12 officials are working to ensure every student is fed and the state can benefit from a federal decision that essentially will fund free meals for all students, not just those who traditionally receive free and reduced lunch. “We’re helping them (schools) do that,” said Cheryl Johnson, director of the Child Nutrition and Wellness team at the Kansas State Department of Education. “The schools are being receptive,” Johnson said. Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it would extend through the end of the calendar year, or until funds remain available from Congress, certain flexibilities in rules...

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Starting Anew: Wabaunsee USD 329 reopening promotes safe onsite learning but ready to pivot if necessary

The Wabaunsee USD 329 school district is situated in the Flint Hills just west of Topeka.   The rural district of about 450 students has been relatively lightly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its five schools were able to open as planned in mid-August with nearly all children attending in person. Look beyond the pastoral setting and the smiles of students on the playground, though, and you’ll find USD 329’s reopening was the result of months of intense planning by Board of Education members, administrators, teachers and staff to respond to the continuing uncertainties presented by the pandemic while...

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`Women Connecting with Women’ to feature Gov. Kelly

KASB and USA-Kansas continue their leadership programming with a new monthly series entitled “Women Connecting with Women.” The first event will be a noon, September 22 Zoom session with Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, who will discuss her experiences as a leader.  The 45-minute “lunch and learn” monthly sessions are designed to help female Board of Education members, Superintendents, building principals and district leaders establish connections with other women leaders to discuss current issues with high-profile female change-agents from across the state. There is no cost to participate but attendees must register in advance on the KASB events page. Look for...

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KASB has candidate list, issues overview to assist members

As the 2020 election campaign enters its final weeks, KASB members should be talking with candidates about supporting K-12 public education. KASB has prepared a list of 2020 General Election candidates organized by school district and KASB region to assist you in identifying your local candidates. We’ve also prepared an issues overview and a 15-minute YouTube video of the major issues facing public schools.  There will be at least 20 new members in the 125-member Kansas House of Representatives and at least 10 new state Senators. The Kansas State Board of Education will see at least one new member. Kansas...

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KASB Legislative Committee approves draft of state policy positions

KASB’s Legislative Committee has approved a first draft of proposed state legislative policy positions for 2021. KASB members will discuss the positions and provide feedback at Regional Roundtables on September 30, October 7 and October 14. The final document, which will guide KASB advocacy efforts in the 2021 Kansas legislative session, will be approved by the KASB Delegate Assembly in January 2021.  The proposed state policy positions primarily focus on how to support K-12 public schools as they continue to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Positions include supporting safe operations in schools in all learning modes; increasing...

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