Time to Act- Attacks Ratchet Up

Mar 8, 2016 by

Rep. Bradford & Sen Melcher leading attacks. First Bill on House Floor Tomorrow is Expansion of Vouchers Representative Kasha Kelley (R-Arkansas City) will be carrying HB 2457 on the House floor tomorrow. This bill is a radical expansion of a program that will do da read more

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Quiet Under the Dome Today

Jan 22, 2016 by

Early session Fridays are generally pro-forma days on which committees do not meet, both chambers convene early in the day, and legislators head home for the weekend.

Today was no exception.

The consolidation bill, HB 2504, was a big part of our discussions at KNEA this morning. Consolidation discussions are nothing new in the statehouse but they rarely go very far. We have yet to see how one might fare with the more conservative House and Senate of 2015-16.

This bill requires all counties with fewer than 10,000 students to consolidate into a count-wide district. In counties with more than 10,000 students, districts would be consolidated such that no district would have fewer than 1,500 students. The districts in the Coalition of Innovative School Districts would not be dissolved but could have additional territory added to them.

The State Board of Education would redraw the lines in 2017 and be required to redraw them every 10 years in the future.

We are interested in what our readers think about this idea and would ask you to complete a simple three question survey at https://gpsimpact.typeform.com/to/m1NEgc.

You might also want to look for a back home legislative forum this weekend as an opportunity to ask you legislators what they think of mandatory school consolidation every 10 years.

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When is Consolidation, Not Consolidation?

Jan 21, 2016 by

Well, it’s here, the first major attack on public schools of the session. House Bill 2504 is titled “An Act concerning school districts; relating to the realignment thereof.” But as William Shakespeare famously said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

Rep. John Bradford (R-Lansing) is not shy about taking credit for the bill. We suppose he wants us to believe that it is not a consolidation bill, but that’s exactly what it does.

In any county with fewer than 10,000 students, there will be a county-wide school district. In any county with more than 10,000 students, each school district will have at least 1,500 students. (That’s consolidation.)

The State Board of Education is going to draw up new school district boundaries and tell folks where they will go. But wait! There’s more! The SBOE will draw new boundaries every 10 years! That’s right. Your child or you as a teacher could wind up in a new school district every 10 years.

The bill will limit the number of administrators in the new districts. The state will take “surplus” property such as district vehicles and sell them to raise money for the state general fund. The so-called innovative school districts are kind of held harmless except that they can have territory added to them.

Now, specifically for our readers who are school employees, you could be a new employee of a newly “realigned” district every 10 years.

And what about our communities? Does it serve our communities to shift their school district boundaries every 10 years? What will this bill eventually do to our local schools? As the state requires more students in a school district, will they want to see more children in a school?

Ask your legislators how they feel about the forced consolidation of Kansas school districts, cutting the number of districts in half. Ask your legislators if redrawing school district boundaries every 10 years will provide the stability children and communities need to thrive. Ask your legislator if it isn’t better policy to let local communities make these decisions for themselves.

Find your legislator’s email by clicking here.

House members’ email addresses are firstname.lastname@house.ks.gov.

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