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Hearings scheduled for six bills in first part of next week could have a major impact on schools


Posted Date: 01/26/2022

Hearings scheduled for six bills in first part of next week could have a major impact on schools

Hearings have been scheduled for six bills in the first part of next week that could have a major impact on school districts. School leaders are encouraged to provide oral or written testimony or share information or concerns about these bills. Here is the line-up so far. Most committees generally require testimony to be turned in at least 24 hours in advance of the hearing. Contact committee assistants, listed below, for details. 

 

HB 2511 - Requiring that virtual, home and private school students be allowed to participate in a school district’s activities that are regulated, supervised, promoted and developed by the state activities association. 

Link to bill information: HB 2511 

Hearing Monday, Jan. 31, at 3:30 p.m. in the House K-12 Education Budget Committee, Room 546-S. To testify, contact: Holly Broxterman, Committee Assistant–785-296-3971. 

The bill would require that any students be allowed to participate in activities if they are residents of the school district and enrolled and attending a virtual school as defined in K.S.A 72- 3712, and amendments thereto, or a school registered with the state board of education in accordance with K.S.A. 72-4346 (non-accredited private schools including home schools) and the official custodian of such school attests to the student's compliance with all applicable academic requirements for participation in activities offered by such school district. 

Such students must comply with the requirements of K.S.A. 72-6262 (school inoculations) prior to participation in any such activity; meet any applicable age and eligibility requirements set forth by the activities association that are not otherwise in conflict with this section; and pay any fees required by the school district for participation in such activity if such fees are generally imposed upon all other students who participate in such activity. The board of education of a school district may require a student who participates in an activity pursuant to this section to enroll in a particular course or complete a particular course as a condition of participation, if such requirement is imposed upon all other students who participate in such activity. 

The bill also would make board members, officers and employees of the activity's association mandatory reporters under the child abuse reporting law. 

School leaders may wish to comment on the impact of allowing students who are not attending school district courses to participate with those students who are. 

 

SB 341 – Allowing school districts to keep all federal impact received. 

Link to bill information: SB 341 

Hearing Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 1:30 p.m. in the Senate Education Committee, Room 144-S. To testify contact: Cyndie Rexer, Committee Assistant–785-296-7368 

Under current law, 70 percent of federal impact aid received by a school district is deducted from their general state aid amount as a “local effort” contribution. The bill would allow approximately 23 districts to keep the entire amount received. However, because the state would make up the difference in their aid, it would require an estimated additional $13 million to fully fund the school finance formula for base state aid. 

 

HB 2466 - Computer Science Education: Profession development funding, requiring courses to be offered and to graduate. 

Link to bill information: HB 2466 

Hearing Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 1:30 p.m. in House Education Committee, Room 218-S. To submit testimony, contact: Deborah Bremer, Committee Assistant–785-296-1754 

This is continuation of a hearing from Tuesday. As introduced, the bill has three components. 

First, it creates a system of grants for professional development in computer science education for current teachers and for preservice grants for students who are working towards a degree in elementary or secondary education who complete one course in computer science while enrolled in a state educational institution or community college, and appropriates $1 million for each category next year. 

Second, it requires, beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, each high school operated by a school district offer at least one computer science course that must be high quality, meet or exceed the Kansas model standards for computer science established by the state board of education; and be available in a traditional classroom setting, blended learning environment, online-based or other technology-based format that is tailored to meet the needs of each high school and each participating student. 

Third, it requires that beginning with the entering ninth grade class in 2025-2026, students attending a high school operated by a school district must earn one unit of credit in an approved high school computer science course for graduation, with exceptions for students who have an individualized education program or a section 504 plan. However, the graduation requirement provisions shall expire on July 1, 2025, “so that the legislature may review the progress made pursuant to the promoting advancement in computing knowledge act prior to the implementation of this subsection.” The chief sponsor of the bill, House Education Committee Chair Steve Huebert, R-Valley Center, says he plans to propose that the high school graduation requirement be removed from the bill. 

School leaders may wish to comment on their current efforts at providing computer science education, the impact of increased professional development funding on the supply of teachers for such courses, and the impact of requiring such courses. 

 

HB 2550 – Education savings accounts for attending private schools and other costs. 

Link to bill information: HB 2550 

Hearing Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 3:30 p.m. in House K-12 Education Budget Committee, Room 546-S. To submit testimony, contact: Holly Broxterman, Committee Assistant–785-296-3971. 

This bill appears to be similar to legislation that passed the Kansas House last year. Essentially, it would allow certain students to have an amount equal to the base state aid per pupil for the previous year placed in a state account that account could be used for tuition, fees, textbooks, supplies and transportation costs, plus certain other listed educational expenses. Students could also enroll part-time in a public school and receive a prorated portion of base aid for such expenses. 

To be eligible, a student would have to be enrolled in a school district and be either eligible for free and reduced-price meals, or be identified to receive at-risk services, or has an account established (meaning the student can continue to receive the aid after leaving the public school system.) 

Qualified private schools under the program include any accredited private school (whether by the State Board of Education or another accrediting body) and any nonaccredited private school that provides instruction in those subjects required by state law but does not include any nonaccredited private home school or home school organization, community, consortium or group. 

The bill does not make any changes in what private schools may do regarding admissions, retention, discipline or student services. 

School leaders may wish to comment on the impact of shifting state funding to private schools that do not have accept all students or provide the same level of accountability and transparency. 

 

HB 2553 – Requiring school districts to accept non-resident students. 

Link to bill information: HB 2553 

Hearing Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 3:30 in House K-12 Education Budget Committee, Room 546-S. To submit testimony, contact: Holly Broxterman, Committee Assistant–785-296-3971. 

The key portion of the bill would require beginning on July 1, 2022, the board of education of any school district to allow students who are not residents to enroll in and attend any school in the district at any time during the school year unless the number of transfers exceeds the capacity of a grade level for each school of a school district as determined pursuant to the bill. 

Nonresident transfer students are to be admitted in the order they applied. A school district shall not charge tuition or fees to any nonresident student who transfers to such school district pursuant to this section except fees that are otherwise charged to every student enrolled in and attending school in the district.  

On or before January 1, 2023, each board of education of a school district is to adopt a policy to determine the number of nonresident students that the school district has the capacity to accept in each grade level for each school of the school district and the reasons for denial of any application of a nonresident student seeking to transfer to such district. The reasons for denial may include, but not be limited to, high rates of absenteeism and repeated suspensions or expulsions from school. The policy shall be posted on the school district's website. A school district shall not accept or deny a nonresident student transfer based on ethnicity, national origin, gender, income level, disabling condition, proficiency in the English language, measure of achievement, aptitude or athletic ability. 

School leaders that do not allow nonresident enrollment may wish to comment on the potential impact to allowing non-resident students to attend up to capacity limits. 

 

SB 362 - Requiring consideration and documentation of district building needs assessments and state academic assessments. 

Link to bill information: SB 362 

Hearing Wednesday, Feb. 2 at 1:30 in Senate Education Committee, Room 144-S. To submit testimony, contact: Cyndie Rexer, Committee Assistant–785-296-7368, 

This bill is a follow-up to legislation last session that made changes to a long-standing requirement that school board contact a needs assessment of school building as a part of their budget process and use the results for allocating resources within the budget. Concerns have been raised that school districts are not following this requirement. 

The bill would require that the needs assessment be published on the school district's website, and that “In the minutes of the meeting at which the board approves its annual budget, the board shall include that such needs assessment was provided to the board, the board evaluated such assessment and how the board used such assessment in the preparation of the school district's budget.” 

Further, the bill requires that each year, school board shall review state assessment results and, as part of such review, shall document the following: (A) The barriers that must be overcome to have each student achieve grade level proficiency on such assessments; (B) any budget actions, including, but not limited to, recommendations on reallocation of resources that should be taken to address and remove such barriers; and (C) the amount of time the board estimates it will take for each student to achieve grade level proficiency on the state assessments if such budget actions are implemented. 

School leaders may wish to comment on the current process used for assessing budget needs, how the information used and shared, and how districts use state assessment and other data for budgeting and other programming decisions.