Tell your Representative to SUPPORT a clean K-12 funding bill and to VOTE NO on H Sub for SB 113 which includes policies and perks that benefit a select few.
Tomorrow morning the House will vote on a K-12 budget (H Sub for SB 113) loaded with policy and perks for select areas of Kansas, primarily the Johnson County area. Some legislators who represent Kansans in large and wealthy districts have been convinced to sacrifice what’s good for all Kansas students and to capitulate to those who want a system of winners and losers.
It is VITAL that your reps hear from you tonight.
Bill Summary H Sub for SB 113:
A bill tying school funding to bad education policy advanced to final action today in the Kansas House. The House will take a final vote tomorrow. We are urging legislators to OPPOSE this bill.
What started as a Senate bill addressing naturopathic bills became a House bill gutted and bundled by the House Committee on K12 Education Budget. It contains school funding as proposed by the Governor, but it reduces the amount by $153.3 million. In committee, they stripped out the funding increase for special education and the funding for the high-density weighting along with the enhancements of parents as teachers and the teacher mentor program. Then, they added in 8 pieces of policy – including policies that otherwise could not pass if offered in standalone bills.
- PARENT PORTAL The most objectionable piece of policy included in the bill is the “parent portal” provision. This is language similar to what was offered – and rejected – last year. Instead of running in a standalone bill with public input, Rep. Susan Estes (R-Wichita) added it to an open borders bill in the House K-12 Public Education Committee. Discussion on the amendment lasted less than five minutes, and it included no input from educators, parents, administrators, and so on. This policy only applies to public schools. The legislature is not concerned with requiring the same type of publication of curriculum of nonpublic schools.
This is straight from a playbook that includes language and policies that we have seen circulated across the country seeking to erode public trust in public schools, hinder relationships between the most important adults in our children’s lives, foster an “us vs them” mindset, and divert attention from what students truly need.
- NONPUBLIC STUDENTS IN PUBLIC SCHOOL ACTIVITIES Additionally, this bill includes a policy that would allow nonpublic school students to participate in public school activities at no cost. To determine academic eligibility, home school parents would be allowed to self-attest to the performance of their student. In short, public school students would be vying against nonpublic students for spots in their school’s activities yet would have to fulfill higher academic eligibility requirements. The only proponents of this portion when it was a standalone bill included Americans for Prosperity, Kansas Policy Institute, Kansas Family Voice, and Yes, Every Kid – the main proponents of voucher scheme bills.
- SELECTIVE TEACHER COLA Lastly, this bill includes a provision that applies only to 27 school districts in the state. Again, this provision was not provided in a standalone bill nor was any public input provided. It provides these 27 school districts with the authority to increase their mill levy for the purpose of providing their teachers with pay increases to cover the rising cost of living in certain districts. This provision will provide cover to legislators to claim they’ve voted to increase teacher pay – when they haven’t. The cost of living has increased for all Kansans. All of our educators deserve an increase in pay. The legislature should be providing the funding for that rather than pitting teachers against each other based on their zip codes.
Tying bad education policy to school funding has become common practice for the Kansas Legislature. They’re not willing to constitutionally fund our schools unless they get policies in place that will ultimately break down our public schools. This type of policy cannot be removed with a line-item veto. As such, we have urged legislators to oppose this bill and demand a clean school funding bill.