Today, the Kansas State Board of Education conducted an unscheduled meeting to respond to yesterday’s letter from House Speaker Ron Ryckman and Senate President Susan Wagle accusing Deputy Commissioner of Education Dale Dennis of distributing certain transportation funds without authority to do so. The letter also directed the board to suspend Mr. Dennis from employment while an investigation is conducted. CLICK HERE to read the complete details behind this accusation.
Over the last 24+ hours, the education community throughout Kansas has expressed rock-solid support for Mr. Dennis. That support overflowed on social media but also within the boardroom at today’s hearing where dozens of education professionals gathered as a show of solidarity.
Upon convening the meeting, it was announced that there would be two closed executive sessions. The first was for the purpose of consulting with board attorneys and the second was to discuss how to handle the employment issue relative to Mr. Dennis and in response to the Ryckman / Wagle letter. After the second closed-door session, a motion was put forth by board member Sally Cauble. In her motion, Cauble stated that the board’s duty was to advise Commissioner of Education Randy Watson when requested regarding employment matters. Further, Commissioner Watson had requested guidance from the board. Cauble’s motion recommended to “fully support continued employment for Deputy Commissioner of Education Dale Dennis and his staff.” The motion passed 9-1 with board member John Bacon being the sole no-vote (according to media reports).
While today’s proceedings captured the attention of nearly everyone within the education profession, our soon-to-be Governor, Jeff Colyer, was conspicuously silent and thus far has not weighed-in on the issue. However, four former Kansas Governors, as well as several state leaders, pledged support for Mr. Dennis prior to today’s hearings.