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New education bills filed

Posted Date: 01/12/2021

New education bills filed

The following education-related bills were introduced in the Kansas Legislature on Monday January 11. Here is a preliminary review of the bills. Further analysis may be provided. 

SB 13 – Notice and public hearing hearings for property taxes. In Senate Assessment and Taxation; hearing Tuesday, Jan. 12. 

This appears to be a new version of the "Truth in Taxation" bill from last session. New section 1 provides a process local governing bodies must follow if they wish to raise revenue above a certain level. School districts are exempt from new requirements, but information about district budgets will be published. “The provisions of this section shall not apply to school districts organized and operating under the laws of this state. Notwithstanding the foregoing sentence, the county clerk shall provide school district information when complying with county clerk responsibilities pursuant to this section including, but not limited to, providing the revenue neutral rate of the school district on the notice prescribed in subsection (b)(2). Such notice shall also include an explanation that the provisions of this section do not apply to school districts organized and operating under the laws of this state.” 

The bill also discontinues the city and county tax lid; prohibits valuation increase of real property solely as the result of normal repair, replacement or maintenance; and establishes a payment plan for the payment of delinquent or non-delinquent taxes. 

SB 14 - Governmental response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Kansas. In Senate Judiciary; hearing Tuesday, Jan. 12 and Wednesday Jan. 13. 

This bill primarily extends and ratifies orders, authority and restrictions associated with the COVID pandemic from January 26 to March 31. 

HB 2037 - Establishing public school training and instruction standards for identifying child sexual abuse. In House Education. 

The bill directs the State Board of Education to: (1) Implement statewide standards that all public school teachers annually receive training on identifying  signs indicating that a child may be a victim of sexual abuse; (2) review and consider statewide social and emotional standards for student instruction; (3) report progress and any plan or standards developed by February 1, 2022, to the legislature; and (4) on or before January 1, 2022, adopt rules and regulations necessary to implement the bill. The bill itself does not appear to impose any specific requirement on school district, but requirements could be imposed by the State Board through regulations. 

HB 2038 - Educator protection act. In House Education. 

Sec. 1. Defines the purpose of the act is to establish the Kansas educator liability fund to provide excess professional liability insurance coverage for all teachers and student teachers, subject to the appropriations. The Kansas educator liability fund shall protect against damages for claims arising out of the performance of teachers' and student teachers' duties within the scope of their employment or assignment. 

Sec. 3. Establishes in the state treasury the Kansas educator liability fund to be administered by the commissioner of insurance. 

Sec. 4. Professional liability coverage provided under the act shall cover all full-time and part-time teachers and student teachers. No premium, fee or other cost shall be charged to any teacher or student teacher for such coverage. 

HB 2039 - Requires passing a civics exam to graduate high school. In House Education. 

The bill requires that all students who enroll in grade nine of any accredited public, private or parochial high school on or after July 1, 2021, pass an examination on the principles of American civics to graduate from high school. The examination shall be similar to the questions for United States citizenship through naturalization.  

A student may take the examination at any time after enrollment in grade seven and may take the examination as often as necessary to obtain a passing score. Accommodations may be made for students with an individualized education program. 

HB 2044 - Increasing KPERS employee contribution rate for school district employees and making appropriations for FY 2022 for the department of education for a pay increase for KPERS covered school district employees. In House Insurance and Pensions. 

The bill appropriates $41 million to the State Department of Education for next school year, 2021-22, to provide a 1.15 percent pay increase to all KPERS covered employees. It does not indicate how the funds would be distributed to school districts, or whether these funds would be on-going. 

Also beginning next year, the KPERS employee contribution rate would increase from 6 percent to 7.15 percent on a permanent basis; so the bill appears to require a state-funded 1.15 percent pay increase for school employees that will be used to fund a 1.15 percent increase in KPERS contributions.