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.