Under the Dome - February 6, 2012
Hearings begin on Governor’s school finance proposal
Hearings got underway this afternoon in the Senate Education Committee on SB 361, the Governor’s school funding bill.
Most legislators are viewing the bill as three distinct bills; one dealing with funding, another with career and technical education, and a third with educator licensure and evaluation. The bill has been divided into three smaller bills by action of the House Education Committee and today the Senate Education Committee decided to do the same thing.
But the hearings this week are technically on SB 361 but testimony is being taken on the three parts as if they were already separate bills.
Today was school funding day and the room was packed with superintendents and assistant superintendents. Superintendent Gene Johnson of the Shawnee Mission School District was the only one who gave strong support to the bill. Tom Trigg, Superintendent of Blue Valley USD 229 was more tempered in his remarks. Trigg was supportive of more local authority but expressed grave concerns about other aspects including the loss of funding targeted to at-risk and bilingual students.
Those expressing opposition to the proposal included Bill Hall (Salina), George Griffith (WaKeeney), Robert Scheib (Emporia), Justin Henry (Goddard), Cynthia Lane (Kansas City), Jeff Travis (Waconda), Julie Ford (Topeka), Diane Gjerstad (Wichita) and John Black (Augusta). Mark Tallman of KASB went section by section through the bill noting how KASB policies stand on each section.
The Committee ran out of time before the last conferees could speak and so Mark Desetti of KNEA and Mike Mathes of the Seaman School District will be addressing the Committee tomorrow.
Also up for discussion tomorrow are the proposals for changing Career and Technical Education. KNEA will testify on that proposal as well.
Lots more to be heard in Committees this week
This will be a wild week for testimony. KNEA is set to testify on nine bills although word has been coming in that some Committee agendas will be changing.
Tomorrow, in addition to the CTE proposal in the Senate Education Committee, there were to be hearings on House Bill 2552 allowing anyone to serve as a superintendent and House Bill 2477 dealing with changes to the compulsory attendance law. KNEA will be testifying on both although HB 2552 will be postponed and HB 2477 may still be dropped.
Wednesday there will be a hearing on House Bill 2620, the Governor’s Career and Technical Education proposal in the House Education Committee while the Senate Education Committee will hear the educator licensure and evaluation portion of SB 361. KNEA will testify in both committees. Wednesday will have a noon meeting to hear about the Legislative Post Audit Report on requiring state and school district employees to live in Kansas. We’ll link to that report as soon as it is available.
Thursday may include a discussion of the subcommittee report on third grade retention in House Education while the Senate Education Committee hears SB 350, the Democrats’ school finance proposal. Again, KNEA will be there to testify.
And overlaying all of this are daily meetings of the KPERS Select Committee discussing and hearing testimony on SB 338, the Commission’s bill doing away with the defined benefit program for new and non-vested employees and a series of three House Tax Committee meetings to hear HB 2560, the Governor’s plan to eliminate the income tax and cap revenue growth in the future at 2% per year. KNEA will be providing testimony on both of these as well.
Keep tuned to Under the Dome for news about all of these issues!