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With cannons and brass bands, the transition from Sam Brownback to Jeff Colyer was announced. Colyer was sworn in and gave his first speech in a crowded rotunda. Brownback now departs to take up his duties as a special ambassador for religious freedom. Colyer meanwhile might want to distinguish himself from the unpopular Brownback as he takes on the role of Governor and considers his campaign for election to a full term in 2018. We’ll be anxious to see how things go!

Today is the day for the annual KSHSAA participation debate

After the ceremony, the House Education Committee convened to hold two bill hearings.

The first bill was HB 2542 which makes some changes to fee structures the Board of Regents charges to private and out of state institutions of higher education. These fees are used to pay for regulatory activities – KBOR is required to regulate these institutions. The bill also removes a sunset on the fees. There were no opponents to the bill and KBOR was the only proponent.

The second bill was more controversial. HB 2540 would allow public school boards to adopt policies that would allow home-schooled students to participate in school activities regulated by the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

Under the bill, such policies would be permitted but not required. The policies would also require participating homeschool students to be in a school registered with the State Board of Education, meet immunization requirements, and meet age and academic requirements for participation (although academic requirements are met by the parent saying they have been met).

A representative to the Family Policy Alliance of Kansas and two home-schooling parents appeared as proponents while the KSHSAA, KASB, and USA appeared as opponents. Most questions were directed to KSHSAA Executive Director Gary Musselman who put on a vigorous defense of the association’s rulemaking process and the integrity of protecting school activities.

There are now options for kids to participate providing they are enrolled for at least one hour per day in the brick and mortar public school.