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Education advocates say thank you to Gov. Kelly, Legislature

Posted Date: 05/24/2021

Education advocates say thank you to Gov. Kelly, Legislature

Education advocates wish to express their thanks to Gov. Kelly and Kansas legislators who supported the school finance bill and appropriations to ensure federal COVID relief to schools.

Funding the Gannon school finance plan completes a six-year plan (2018 to 2023) to restore adequate and equitable funding to the public school system after eight years (2009 to 2017) when school funding fell behind inflation and several important student learning measures declined.  

Adding funding to higher education, which was included in the final budget, supports Kansas’s efforts to receive federal aid over the next three years for student recovery from the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

Together these actions by the governor and Legislature will help school leaders improve the success and lives of each and every student and the future of our state.

Here is why the Gannon funding level is so important:

    •    Since 2017, schools have been able to restore many positions that had been cut and can continue to add new teachers, counselors and other positions to support student learning, mental health and college and career readiness.
    •    Schools will be able to continue to invest in early childhood, special education and service to the most at-risk students.
    •    Districts will be able to continue to raise salaries to be more competitive with other states and employers after a decade of decline.

Here is why the federal COVID funds are so important for crisis response, relief and recovery efforts:

   •    Over several years, districts will be able to provide targeted support for students whose learning was interrupted by the pandemic due to limitations on public gathering and in-person learning, parental choice or illness and quarantine.
    •    Schools will be able to expand social and mental health services for students dealing with depression, isolation and family trauma.
    •    Additional resources at the high school and college level will help students with postsecondary education interrupted by the pandemic.

With additional resources, school leaders will be able to focus on redesigning programs under the new accreditation system under these key principles.

   •     Student success skills that include strong academic and technical preparation, and social and emotional support to succeed in postsecondary education, careers and citizenship.
    •    Strong collaborative partnerships with families, businesses and communities.
    •    Personalized learning that meets the specific needs of each child.
    •    Real work applications such as project-based learning, internships, and civic engagement make learning relevant.

These principles in the student-focused goals for Kansas education will: 

   •    Continue to build a system that prepares every child to begin school ready for kindergarten.
    •    Provide every child with an individual plan of study to prepare for successful adulthood, based on their needs and interests. 
    •    Support the social and emotional needs of children to realize their individual plans.
    •    Increase the graduation rate for Kansas students to 95 percent while maintaining high standards.
    •    Prepare students for a world where three-quarters of jobs require more than a high school education and all jobs require appropriate skills.

The school funding approved by the governor and Legislature will move us forward. School leaders are committed to the next steps.  

Signed by:
Game On for Kansas
Kansas Association of School Boards
Kansas Association of Special Education Administrators
Kansas National Education Association
Kansas Parents As Teachers Association
Kansas PTA
Schools for Quality Education
United School Administrators of Kansas