Sherri Schwanz, Kansas NEA President
“We called upon our members to take action last night. As of this morning, hundreds of educators called and emailed their reps to tell them that those pushing to privatize our schools would have to do better than gimmicks and schemes. Voucher supporters are trying to double down today, and the work is far from done, but I’m confident and proud that our members will do their part!”
After more than three hours of debate today, the House advanced H Sub for SB 83 to final action on a vote of 61-59. This was not a roll call vote so we do not have a record of how each legislator voted this time around. It takes a simple majority to advance a bill to a final vote, but it takes 63 votes to pass the bill out of the chamber.
Those pushing to pass this bill amended it today to extend unilateral authority to oversee the scheme to the State Treasurer. This amendment would simply bypass the elected State Board of Education. The amendment eliminated the establishment of a 9 voting member board to oversee and advise on the implementation of the program, and instead put one individual with no other education-related authority in charge of the program.
Additionally, an amendment was added that would extend headcount to four years for districts with schools that are classified as 2A. The bill had previously been amended in committee to include districts with 1A schools. Doing this is a thinly-veiled effort to curry favor from representatives in smaller rural districts.
The estimated cost of this program is already astronomical. This expands the fiscal note considerably, and is indicative of the devastating impact this voucher scheme program will have on rural schools.
Our work is not done. Please take a moment to reach out again and contact your representative. Urge them to OPPOSE House Sub for SB 83 and to end the push to privatize education and to turn into a system of few winners and many losers.