Under the Dome - March 29, 2012 Part 2
Education Conference Committee Update
The Education Conference Committee met at 4:00 this afternoon.
They are discussing a proposed package of education bills (putting all these bills in one report). The package would include:
- Senate Sub for HB 2200 (bipartisan school finance plan),
- Senate Bill 393 (The Senate’s Career and Technical Education bill),
- Senate Bill 257 (Using special education as part of the calculation of LOB), and
- House Bill 2634 (educator evaluation).
KNEA supports the first three bills and has raised two concerns about HB 2634. The first is the use of the words “primary factor” in reference to the use of student growth calculations in educator evaluations. KNEA and USA are asking the committee to change the wording to “a significant factor” which matches the language in the U.S. Department of Education ESEA Waiver documents.
Our other objection is the proscriptive striking of evaluation procedures from the list of negotiable items in and professional negotiations act. Since Legislators have consistently lauded the collaborative process by which the Kansas Educator Evaluation Protocol is being developed with input from teachers, administrators, school board and community members all working together, it seems irresponsible to strip teachers locally of the right to input on evaluation procedures.
It is of course possible that KEEP might turn out to be a prescriptive state-wide evaluation system but it is more likely to have a state structure and requirements augmented by locally developed components. This bill as drafted would effectively eliminate collaboration with teachers on local components. It seems the better course would be to wait for the implementation of KEEP before making statutory changes that could be in conflict with KEEP.
The Committee will meet again tomorrow morning when they plan to discuss House Bill 2773 which extends a spending flexibility statute passed last year. Under that flexibility, school districts are better able to use unencumbered ending balances to meet various district needs. KNEA supports such flexibility.
Budget Conference Committee Update
The Budget Conference Committee finished their work and a budget bill will be rolled out for a floor vote tomorrow. We have told you of the slow progress being made on the budget which makes one wonder how they could come to an agreement so suddenly. Well, they did so by agreeing to defer many items for consideration in the veto session and consideration of the final omnibus budget bill. That’s exactly where much of education has been sent.
Deferred to omnibus consideration (after the break) are:
- Where the $29 million in supplemental funding for this year will come from,
- Whether they should prohibit KSDE from spending state general fund money on common core standards,
- Special Education maintenance of effort for fiscal year 2013,
- Technical Education grant funding,
- Career and Technical Education Weighting, and
- Professional development funding.
The bill will add money for:
- Parents as Teachers ($2.2 million) and
- The Kansas Preschool Program ($1.5 million).
Tax Conference Committee Update
The Tax Conference Committee also met at 4:00 this afternoon and adjourned after reviewing what they discussed yesterday and getting a few updated fiscal notes (how much their various tax changes will cost the state or bring in to the state). They made no further progress and decided to cancel their Friday meeting and wait until later in April to continue their work.