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Governor's Education Council reviews success in Legislative session

Posted Date: 06/14/2022

Governor's Education Council reviews success in Legislative session

At a council meeting Friday, the Governor's Council on Education celebrated success in each of its goals for the 2022 Legislative session.

Governor Laura Kelly appointed the council to improve Kansas schools, enhance workforce development, and stimulate economic growth in the state. It is co-chaired by Dr. Cynthia Lane, retired Superintendent of Kansas City Kansas Public School and currently a member of the State Board of Regents,  Dr. Fred Dierksen, superintendent of Dodge City Public Schools, and is made up of representatives from education, child welfare, labor, advocacy, and the business community.

Here are the council's priority areas for the year and results in the Legislature.

Childcare and Early Learning. The Legislature expanded the Kansas Child Day Care Assistance Tax Credit​ eligibility from corporate income taxpayers only to all businesses and permits taxpayers to claim 50% of expenditures paid to an organization providing childcare to the taxpayer's employees beginning in tax year 2021. ​The goal is to expand access to childcare programs, which are lacking in many communities in the state.

Future Ready: Prioritize and Invest in Education and Workforce Systems that Accelerate the Talent Pipeline in Computer Science and Information Technology​. The Legislature passed HB 2466, the Promoting Advancement in Computing Knowledge Act, which requires districts to begin planning to provide computer science courses and provides $2 million in funding for current and aspiring teachers to receive additional training and professional development to prepare them to teach computer science courses. The bill also creates a Career Technical Education pilot program that will reimburse schools for the cost of credential exams for students who are working towards obtaining an Industry Recognized Credential. ​

Provide Funding for Technology and Equipment Upgrades to Support Correctional Higher Education​. The Legislature approved $6.7 million recommended by the Governor in one-time funding to the Department of Corrections to upgrade technology and equipment used for higher education instruction in correctional facilities. ​

Work-Based Learning. The council recommended that the Legislature and various stakeholders continue to work to provide work-based learning liability protection through SB 91. As passed by the Legislature, the bill removed liability for businesses in cases arising from student negligence or injury caused by an accident of the student. The bill did not provide immunity for gross negligence or willful misconduct. ​During the legislative session, provisions were removed requiring school districts to purchase insurance specifically for work-based learning programs. ​

​The council recommended providing $714,000 to support staffing Work-Based Learning Intermediaries for a third year of the pilot program. The funding was recommended by the Governor and approved by the Legislature and will be directed to the Department of Commerce. ​

Advantage Kansas Coordinating Council. The Education Council recommended funding a full-time Executive Director Position for the Advantage Kansas Coordinating Council, established last year by Governor Kelly to help align education with state agencies and business needs. Funding for this position was recommended by the Governor and approved by the Legislature and will be located in the Department of Commerce.

Other Issues. The council also reviewed Legislative action to fully fund the Gannon school finance plan at levels approved by the Kansas Supreme Court for constitutional school finance; funding for higher education topping $1 billion for the first time in state history; $7 million in new teacher scholarships and teacher professional development aid; statewide residential property tax relief​ by raising the residential exemption under the 20 mill statewide school levy, and creating tax rebates for classroom supplies purchased by teachers.