From KNEA (April 30):

The Fix is In!

The Senate this afternoon took up Sub for SB 61 the school finance fix bill that restores the missing $80 million that had been intended in SB 423.

The House drafted the bill in a special Appropriations Committee meeting on Friday night the debated it, advanced it, and passed it on final action on Saturday.

The Senate took up the matter after 2:00 today and with relatively little discussion or debate, passed the bill on emergency final action on a vote of 31 to 8 with one Senator passing. Click here to see how your Senator voted.

The bill now goes to the Governor and he has indicated that he will happily sign it, moving the decision on school finance adequacy to the Supreme Court. This action means what was intended in SB 423 is not actually what has been passed.

 

Education Bills Introduced

Five bills concerning school districts were introduced Feb. 7. KASB staff is continuing to analyze other bills for their impact on education. 

SB 395 

HB 2653 – Income tax; relating to credits; educational expenses made by certain school employees. The bill would provide a 20% tax credit for expenses for tuition at an educational institution for the taxpayer’s education or certification necessary for a new position within a unified school district. Such credit may not be taken until five years after the qualified taxpayer has completed additional education or certification and commenced work at the new position. Referred to the House Taxation Committee. 

HB 2690 – Kansas school transparency act. Referred to the House K-12 Education Budget Committee. First, beginning in 2021, the Department of Education is directed to prepare and submit a report on the expenditures and revenues per student for each school. All expenditures of a school district shall be allocated to the schools operated within such district. The report shall include: (1) total expenditures per student; (2) total revenues per student and revenues per student from federal, state and local sources; (3) revenues per student from state and local sources as a percentage of the total revenue for the school; (4) total expenditures per student as a percentage of total revenues per student; and (5) student learning outcomes, including outcomes for all students and for each subgroup of students. 

Second, the State Board of Education is to determine the school financial efficiency rating for each school using a rating system based on the reported expenditures per student and the student learning outcomes for the school, using statewide assessments in math and reading. The efficiency rating shall be placed on the district website. 

Third, the state board shall identify not less than 10 specific school expenditures that the state board deems useful for the purposes of benchmarking and comparison among schools, based on several factors. 

HB 2692 – Requiring the provision of applied behavior analysis for students diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Requires school districts, upon request of the parents, to provide applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy for any student who has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, to the extent such therapy is ordered by a licensed physician, licensed psychologist or licensed specialist clinical social worker, provided there is a licensed clinician providing such therapy who is located within the territory of the school district.  

The bill also sets up a mechanism to pay for these services, by creating a fund equal to $4 per student. However, the cost of the school district is not limited to state reimbursement. The bill was referred to the House Education Committee. 

HB 2697 – Amending the transportation weighting calculation. The bill would implement changes in the state transportation weighting by increasing the student multiplier from 2.8 to 5.0, as suggested by the Legislative Post Audit Division transportation study. This would increase transportation closer to the amount of actual costs determined by the LPA study. Referred to the House K-12 Education Budget Committee. 

STAY INFORMED

The legislative process changes quickly in the last days of the session. Several advocacy groups offer Action Alerts to inform members when to support or oppose bills before they are voted on in committee or the full House/Senate. Click the name of the organization below to sign up for these action alerts:

Tax Reform:  Rise Up Kansas

Public Education: KNEA

KS Board of Education

Douglas County Democratic Party Public Education Advocacy: email norinespears@gmail.com