Early Childhood Investments and Property Taxes

Mar 6, 2018 by

K-12 Budget Committee Reviews ECE Programs

The K-12 Budget Committee held the first of two days of presentations on early childhood education programs today.

The first part of today’s agenda looked at programs offered under the leadership of the Children’s Cabinet. The Children’s Cabinet oversees the Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement monies Kansas receives and which has been targeted to pre-school programs. These programs serve at-risk populations. Among the many programs are Child Care Assistance, Early Childhood Block Grants, Family Preservation, and Tobacco Use Prevention.

Kansas Action for Children reports that an investment in quality child care for one child could save the state $243,810 over the life of the child. At-risk children who don’t’ receive a high-quality early childhood education are 25% more likely to drop out of school, 40% more likely to become a teen parent, 50% more likely to be placed in special education, 60% more likely to never attend college, and 70% more likely to be rested for a violent crime. Strong evidence for the importance of investments in early childhood education!

The second part of today’s meeting was a presentation on the Attachment Bio-behavioral Catch-up program (ABC). This program aims to serve children in homes where they are more likely to receive adverse childhood experiences. These are stressful experiences in a child’s life that prevent or limit bonding with parent or caregiver and lead to negative behaviors throughout life.

The ABC program was developed at the University of Delaware and provides in-home training for parents with children as young as six months. Its intent is to train these parents on how to interact with their child in positive ways through play and everyday activities. The Committee heard from both researchers and individuals who provide the training to parents.

Tomorrow the Committee will hear about early childhood education programs service pre-school populations in the public schools.

House Tax Committee Holds a Hearing a Bill Raising the School Property Tax Mill Levy

House Bill 2740 would raise the statewide mill levy for schools from the current 20 mills to 38.43 mills over three years. While such an action would raise a significant amount of money for public education ($659.9 million), when coupled with LOB levies, the property tax burden would be crippling. Chairman Johnson (R-Assaria) indicated the bill was crafted to get the amount of money that the SBOE indicated would be needed.

While we believe this would likely raise enough money to satisfy the adequacy ruling the Gannon, we remain unconvinced that this is the best way go. Kansas NEA continues to believe that comprehensive tax reform that balances the three primary sources (income, sales, property) establishing a three-legged stool is the best way to both fund schools and other important state services including public safety, highways, and the social service safety net.

There were no proponents of the bill but plenty of opponents.

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The Very Beginnings of Education Budget Talks

Mar 6, 2018 by

The House K-12 Budget Committee today heard the budget appeal from the State Department of Education.

Agencies provide budget appeals when the Governor’s budget differs from the Agency requests.

Committee chairman Fred Patton (R-Topeka) indicated to the committee that they would be hearing the appeal for the 2018 and 2019 KSDE budget but that they would only forward recommendations on the 2018 budget to the Appropriations Committee.

This set up some conflict in the committee with Democrats Jim Ward, Ed Trimmer, Tom Sawyer, and Henry Helgerson arguing that it felt irresponsible to put off decisions on 2019 until later with the specter of the Supreme Court decision weighing heavily. Trimmer made a motion to recommend all of the agency’s appeals to the Appropriations committee and, after some significant discussion, withdrew the motion saying their points had been made. And also realizing that such a motion would not pass.

Rep. Brenda Landwehr (R-Wichita) argued that it was wrong to put schools above all other agencies which have been starved for several years. Trimmer then said that those agencies had been starved only because the majority had willingly gone along with the Brownback tax experiment that ultimately gutted the state’s revenue picture (a tax experiment that no Democrat had voted in favor of).

In the end, they made two recommendations on the 2018 budget to forward to the Appropriations Committee.

First, they dealt with an appeal on the Monumental Building Fee – a fee that is charged by the Department of Administration to the KSDE but for which no money is provided. The fee, collected from several agencies, is used to maintain the Capitol, the Judicial Center, and Cedar Crest. This would require an additional $162,141 for the KSDE. A motion by Rep. Sawyer (D-Wichita) to provide the additional funds was adopted. Rep. Landwehr moved to request the Appropriations Committee to introduce legislation exempting the Department from the fee in the future. That motion also passed.

The only other issue dealt with was the Excel in Career Technical Education Initiative. Under this program when a high school student earns an industry-recognized credential in a high-demand occupation while in high school, the student’s school is to receive a $1000 incentive. Funding available for this program is only enough to provide $35 per student. On a motion from Rep. Melissa Rooker (R-Fairway) additional funding is provided to make the appropriate payments.

Landwehr made the motion to forward these two recommendations for 2018 to the Appropriations Committee. The motion passed on a voice vote.

At this point, Patton asked what the committee’s will was as to the 2019 budget appeals. Hearing no response, he made a motion himself to lapse the 2019 budget and to take it up again at omnibus – the session ending mega-budget building process. The motion passed on a voice vote with Democrats Ward, Helgerson, Trimmer, and Lusk being recorded as NO and Republican Scott Schwab being recorded as YES.

Tomorrow the Committee will be discussing early childhood education initiatives and benefits.


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