School Finance Pilot; Payroll Deduction; On the Floor

Mar 23, 2015 by

School Finance Pilot Project     

Senator Steve Abrams (R-Arkansas City) has released a proposed school finance formula pilot project in Senate Bill 249.

Abrams, a former member of the State Board of Education, has long had an interest in the school finance formula and this is his vision moving forward. With the two-year block grant proposal on the Governor’s desk, Abrams is proposing piloting a new formula with the six school district members of the Coalition of Innovative Districts (Hugoton, Blue Valley, Concordia, Marysville, McPherson, and Kansas City).

The Abrams plan would have essentially five components:

  • Enrollment State Aid set at $3820/student based on headcount, not FTE,
  • Poverty State Aid based on each districts poverty as determined by US Census Bureau Data,
  • Sparsity State Aid based on the sparsity of population in the school district,
  • Success Incentive State Aid, based on the performance of school district graduates in the 24 months after graduation, and
  • State Equalization Aid, based not just on assessed valuation per pupil but also factoring in federal adjusted gross income in the district, and home values in the district.

School districts would be able to levy a local property tax which would be known as the Local Portion Levy Budget which would be equalized under the new State Equalization Aid formula.

The bill is based on flat funding as is the case with the Block Grant bill. It continues the current 20 mill state-wide school mill levy for another two years.

Probably the biggest sticking point in the bill is the Success Incentive program which would require the gathering of a significant amount of data on district graduates.

The bill defines student success in the following way:

A successful student is one who, within two years after graduating from high school, has:

  1. Enrolled in a third consecutive semester at a postsecondary educational institution or private or out-of-state postsecondary educational institution;
  2. obtained an industry-recognized credential;
  3. entered basic training in one of the branches of the United States military;
  4. been employed, including self-employment, with an annual income that is not less than 250% of the federal poverty level; or
  5. been employed not less than 30 hours per week and had an individual education program as a child with a disability at the time such student graduated from high school.

Obviously this would require a significant amount of data collection which is not currently being done. Legislators – particularly House members – have shown a reluctance to allow the collection and sharing of student data especially if that data is personally identifiable. There have been a number of bills this year and last to restrict student data collection.

There will be a hearing on this bill in the Senate Education Committee tomorrow. It has been double-referred to both the Education and Ways and Means Committee so it would need to pass both to move to the full Senate.


Senate still has time to ban payroll deduction

House Bill 2096 was not on the Senate floor today. I could be by tomorrow.

This bill strips state and municipal employees of most of their collective bargaining rights and prohibits payroll deduction for things not required by statute or an employee benefits program. The right to payroll deduction for association dues and other voluntary programs would end.

Make sure you contact your Senator and urge him/her to vote NO on HB 2096.

Click here to access the KNEA Legislative contact portal! Click here for a roster of Senators with phone numbers and emails.

Three days “on the floor”

For today, tomorrow and Wednesday, legislators in both chambers will be on the floor – in Committee of the Whole – to clear out the backlog of bills on their calendars. Bills that are not in exempt committees must pass the second chamber by Wednesday in order to move forward.

The Legislature will be out Thursday and Friday, then return on Monday. Friday, April 3 is “drop dead day.” It is the day by which legislation is done with the exception of the final budget and revenue acts.

 

 

 

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CONTACT YOUR SENATOR! VOTE NO ON HB 2096! Common Core Bill Voted Down

Mar 20, 2015 by

HB 2096 – the anti-public service bill – goes to the full Senate next week

Keep contacting those Senators!

The Senate Commerce Committee gutted House Bill 2096 and inserted into it the contents of SB 179, ending the Public Employee Relations Board and enacting severe limitations on collective bargaining rights for state and municipal employees, and Senate Bill 212, prohibiting all public employees from paying association or union dues via payroll deduction.

By putting these two anti-worker bills into the House bill, they successfully stop the House from any ability to have the bills heard in committee or ended. The House can only vote up or down on the bill on a motion to concur in the Senate changes. This end run around the legislative process is commonly known as railroading or ramrodding. It was used to pass the school finance bill that ends the current formula and cuts funding for most school districts.

This bill is the latest in the war on public employees being waged by conservatives in the Legislature. So far they have prohibited public employees from using payroll deduction for PAC contributions, ended fair dismissal rights for teachers, attempted to repeal the professional negotiations act, reclassified state employees to end fair dismissal rights, and now voted to dismantled protections in PEERA (bargaining for state and municipal employees) and ban payroll deduction for dues.

This bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration. If it passes the Senate, it will go to the House. We are almost out of time for consideration so the votes are likely to happen in the next couple days.

Make yourself heard!

Click here for a roster of Senators with phones and emails!

Phone them and leave a message. THEY MUST HEAR FROM KANSANS EVERYWHERE!

Once you have phoned, send an email.

Click here to access the KNEA Legislative email portal!

Talking points you might use:

  • I do not need big government to protect me from my own decisions. I work hard for my pay and I should get to decide for myself how to manage it.
  • HB 2096, as passed out of the Commerce Committee, prohibits me from making voluntary payroll deductions. How can government restrictions on my choices possibly be good policy?
  • Local communities and local governments should be free to make their own decisions about how to manage employee relations and payroll systems. HB 2096 undermines local control.
  • This bill is mean-spirited and unjustifiable. I ask you to stand up for the people who police our streets, fight fires, teach our children, and serve our state and community. VOTE NO on HB 2096.

House Committee Kills Common Core Repeal Bill

The House Education Committee met today to work HB 2292, the bill that would have immediately repealed all curriculum standards, end participation in the AP and IB programs and jeopardize Kansas participation in many other programs including the SAT’s National Merit Scholarships.

Rep. Amanda Grosserode (R-Lenexa) offered an amendment that would let the current standards stand until the State Board developed new ones in 2017 as part of the regular standards review process. The Grosserode amendment would also require that before any new standards were implemented they would need to be approved by both chambers of the Kansas Legislature.

Grosserode’s amendment was rejected by both those who support the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards and those demanding an immediate repeal of the standards.

Subsequent amendments by Rep. John Bradford (R-Lansing) were similar to the Grosserode amendment but without legislative approval. Those amendments failed as well.

Proponents of standards repeal repeatedly acknowledged that they did not have enough votes in the House for outright repeal tried repeatedly to soften the bill in an attempt to gain support.

After dispatching with the last Bradford amendment, the question was called on the underlying bill. The bill was defeated in committee.


Second turnaround approaches

For the most part, today marks the end of regular committee meetings. Next week, both chambers will be working to clear the backlog of bills that have come out of committee in anticipation of Wednesday, the day by which bills must have be acted upon by the second chamber.

They will likely adjourn on Wednesday leaving a couple of days for conference committees to hammer out differences until the full Legislature returns on March 30. They will be in session from then through potentially April 3, the “drop dead day” for bill consideration.

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Take Action on Payroll Deduction; PNA Movement; Lots of Action in House

Mar 19, 2015 by

Senate Committee strips public employees of rights

The Senate Commerce Committee went out of their way today to strip Kansas public employees of the right to control their own paychecks and prevent state and municipal employees from having a real voice in their wages, hours, and working condition.

On a motion of Senator Denning (R-Overland Park), the Committee gutted House Bill 2096 and inserted into it the contents of SB 179, ending the Public Employee Relations Board and enacting severe limitations on collective bargaining rights for state and municipal employees, and Senate Bill 212, prohibiting all public employees from paying association or union dues via payroll deduction.

By putting these two anti-worker bills into the House bill, they successfully stop the House from any ability to have the bills heard in committee or ended. The House can only vote up or down on the bill on a motion to concur in the Senate changes. This end run around the legislative process is commonly known as railroading or ramrodding. It was used to pass the school finance bill that ends the current formula and cuts funding for most school districts.

This bill is the latest in the war on public employees being waged by conservatives in the Legislature. So far they have prohibited public employees from using payroll deduction for PAC contributions, ended fair dismissal rights for teachers, attempted to repeal the professional negotiations act, reclassified state employees to end fair dismissal rights, and now voted to dismantled protections in PEERA (bargaining for state and municipal employees) and ban payroll deduction for dues.

This bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration. If it passes the Senate, it will go to the House. We are almost out of time for consideration so the votes are likely to happen in the next couple days.

Make yourself heard!

Click here for a roster of Senators with phones and emails!

Phone them and leave a message. THEY MUST HEAR FROM KANSANS EVERYWHERE!

Once you have phoned, send an email.

Click here to access the KNEA legislative email portal.

Talking points you might use:

  • I do not need big government to protect me from my own decisions. I work hard for my pay and I should get to decide for myself how to manage it.
  • HB 2096, as passed out of the Commerce Committee, prohibits me from making voluntary payroll deductions. How can government restrictions on my choices possibly be good policy?
  • Local communities and local governments should be free to make their own decisions about how to manage employee relations and payroll systems. HB 2096 undermines local control.
  • This bill is mean-spirited and unjustifiable. I ask you to stand up for the people who police our streets, fight fires, teach our children, and serve our state and community. VOTE NO on HB 2096.

Senate Ed Committee again takes up PNA

Earlier this session both the House and Senate passed bills that would amend the Professional Negotiations Act.

The plan passed by the House, HB 2326, is the one that was crafted collaboratively by KASB, KNEA, USA/KS, and KSSA. It changes some dates in the law, requires salaries to be negotiated annually, and allows both the board and the bargaining unit to choose five additional topics to negotiate from the current list of mandatorily negotiable items.

The plan passed by the Senate, SB 136, changes the dates in the law, requires salaries and hours to be negotiated annually, and allows both sides to bring three additional topics from the list of mandatorily negotiable items.

No action has been taken by either chamber on the other chamber’s bill. So today, the Senate Education Committee took the Senate’s version and put it into the House bill, HB 2326.

The now amended House version will go to the Senate floor. If it passes the Senate (and it did as SB 136 on a unanimous vote), it will go over to the House for a vote to concur or non-concur in the changes. If the House concurs, the bill goes to the Governor; if they non-concur, they’ll go to a conference committee on the topic.


House Ed Committee dispatches five bills

The House Education Committee did some heavy lifting today, taking up five in the backlog of bills they have to handle.

Senate Bill 8 simply repeals an outdated requirement for school district audit teams in the Division of Legislative Post Audit. The bill is non-controversial and was passed and placed on the House consent calendar.

Senate Bill 93 cleans up a higher ed provision for performance based funding in CTE programs at the community colleges. A bill last year applied to all the community colleges except Johnson County which had been expected to be dealt with separately. Since the separate bill did not pass, this bill simply adds Johnson County Community College to the list of colleges eligible for the funding.

Senate Bill 70 requires that all school employees be subject to fingerprinting and background checks every five years (upon license renewal for teachers). Teachers have already been fingerprinted and have undergone background checks but not all other school employees. The bill generated a lot of discussion regarding the cost and of such frequent checks and whether or not they should also require them of volunteers and college students who have contact with children.

The most discussed issue was the cost and who should pay the bill. In the end, the bill was amended so that the roughly $50 fee could be paid by either the employee or the school district (it will be a local decision) and that the innovative districts were treated the same as all other districts. Originally teachers in innovative districts had the fee paid for them.

This bill now goes to the full House for consideration.

House Bill 2139 was the bill ending in-state tuition for the children of undocumented aliens. This bill generated lots of passionate discussion with Representative Valdenia Winn (D-Kansas City) calling it “racist, sexist, fear-mongering.” Representative Chuck Smith (R-Pittsburg) stood up strongly for the children telling the committee, “These are OUR children and I strongly oppose this bill.”

Representative Hedke offered an amendment that would grandfather in all such students down to current year high school sophomores and then disallow the in-state rate in the future. This amendment passed on a 10-9 vote with Chairman Highland breaking the tie.

Representative Trimmer (D-Winfield) offered an amendment that would require businesses to use the E-verify system to ensure they were not hiring illegal aliens. The rationale is that if there are no jobs being offered to them in Kansas, they won’t come and the whole issue of in-state tuition is moot. This was a really interesting amendment in light of today’s action by the US Attorney on several businesses in Kansas allegedly paying illegals aliens.

Before the Trimmer amendment was voted on, Representative Dierks (R-Salina) made a motion to table the bill. “I think,” Dierks said, “that we will regret voting for this bill.” The motion to table passed, putting the bill on the shelf.

The last bill taken up was Senate Bill 60 which would allow homeschoolers and private school students to participate in KSHSAA activities in the public schools. One of the big issues in the bill is how to assess the academic performance of home schooled students as required of public school students participating in such programs.

Rep. Tony Barton (R-Leavenworth) offered an amendment that would exempt Sedgwick, Shawnee, Johnson, Douglas, and Wyandotte Counties from the bill. The amendment failed.

Trimmer then made a motion to table the bill until next session when a subcommittee could be formed to study and make recommendations on assessing the academic performance of students who wish to participate in these activities in the public schools. The motion to table passed and the bill is on the shelf until next year.

 

 

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Keep Those Notes Coming! Or Visit the Capitol Tomorrow!

Mar 18, 2015 by

Anti-Public Employee Bills Up Tomorrow Morning

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Julia Lynn had planned to work both SB 179, the bill gutting collective bargaining under PEERA, and SB 212, the bill banning the use of payroll deduction for public employee association or union dues.

This morning, in a committee room packed with public employee representatives and teachers in red shirts, Lynn chose only to work SB 179. And after a motion was made to pass the bill out of committee, Lynn announced they would take a “pause” and wait until tomorrow to vote and work SB 212.

The committee will reconvene tomorrow morning at 8:30 in room 548-N. At that time they will consider both bills.  There is some thought that they may be considering rolling both bills into one mega anti-public employee bill.

Can you think of a more patriotic way to spend a day of spring break than visiting the Capitol to hold legislators accountable? There were more than 25 teachers in the committee room this morning.

And if you can’t be at the Capitol, be sure to email the Committee.

Click here to send a message on HB 212.

House Ed Hears Fingerprinting/Background Check Expansion

The House Education Committee held a hearing on SB 70, a bill that would require all teachers to be fingerprinted and go through a KBI background check upon every license renewal and all other school employees to do so every five years.

Since 2002, all new teachers have been fingerprinted and subject to a background check in order to get a license. Current law also requires teachers licensed prior to 2002 to be fingerprinted and checked upon their next license renewal. Very few teachers, if any, have not completed this requirement.

While KNEA has no objection to background checks, we believe that repeating this every five years with fingerprinting is not necessary. The KBI Rap Back program is sufficient for notice to districts of licensed employees who subsequently are convicted of a crime. This bill would simply at $50 to the cost of a license renewal every five years. Interestingly, the “innovative school districts” are required to pay the cost under the bill while all other teachers must bear the cost personally.

The bill has passed the Senate and will likely be worked in the House Education Committee tomorrow.

Still to Come

The Senate Commerce Committee will be working SB 212 and SB 179 tomorrow morning. Both bills are harmful to public employees and opposed by KNEA.

The House Education Committee will work HB 2139, repealing in-state tuition for the children of undocumented aliens, tomorrow. On Friday they will meet at 10:30 am (pre-KU basketball) to work HB 2292, the bill that would end use of the common core standards, AP tests, and the International Baccalaureate.

 

 

 

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Lynn moves payroll deduction bill to Thursday

Mar 18, 2015 by

Senate Commerce Committee Chair Julia Lynn had planned to work both SB 179, the bill gutting collective bargaining under PEERA, and SB 212, the bill banning the use of payroll deduction for public employee association or union dues.

This morning, in a committee room packed with public employee representatives and teachers in red shirts, Lynn chose only to work SB 179. And after a motion was made to pass the bill out of committee, Lynn announced they would take a “pause” and wait until tomorrow to vote and work SB 212.

The committee will reconvene tomorrow morning at 8:30 in room 548-N. At that time they will consider both bills.  There is some thought that they may be considering rolling both bills into one mega anti-public employee bill. 

Can you think of a more patriotic way to spend a day of spring break than visiting the Capitol to hold legislators accountable? There were more than 25 teachers in the committee room this morning. 

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