Higher Ed Budgets Under Consideration

This week the House Higher Education Committee is hearing from all the 4-year Regents institutions as well as technical colleges and community colleges to assess their budget needs.

We are attending those meetings and will provide a summary report later in the week. The most revealing – yet not surprising – thing so far? The dramatic shift over time from state funding to student tuition as the primary source of higher education funding.

Senate Ed Hearing and Working Bills in Advance of Turn-Around

The Senate Education Committee is working hard this week to move bills before the turn-around deadline hits next week.

They heard Senate Bill 337 which would add private school students to the state’s contract paying for ACT and ACT Work Keys for every student. It is believed this can be done at no cost because of the contract the state has with ACT. They also heard SB 353, a bill from the Kansas Policy Institute amending the statutory requirement on school districts to do a needs assessment when budgeting. The amendment would stipulate the needs assessment had to guarantee that funds were used to get all students to meet the Rose Capacities.

KNEA testified as a proponent of SB 410, a bill addressing bullying policies in schools and requiring reports on incidents. The bill would:

  • Require the adoption of bullying prevention and response policies and outlines the critical elements of those plans. This would result in substantially similar policies statewide.
  • Require school districts to clearly identify personnel responsible for taking and handling reports of bullying or complaints.
  • Require education for staff and students.
  • Set requirements for the distribution of the policies including upon enrollment, in school handbooks, and in teacher training materials.

Senate Bill 384 would require the Kansas State Department of Education and the Kansas Department for Children and Families cooperate in reporting on education of foster children in the schools. The report would include data on graduation rates, suspensions, expulsions, state assessment results, and the number of foster children in at-risk preschool programs.

All of these bills are now available to be amended in committee and passed to the full Senate.

The Senate Education Committee also voted to send SB 230 to the full Senate after amending it. This bill comes from the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and creates certification standards for sign language interpreters. Only certified interpreters could work in the field. This bill must now go to the full Senate for consideration.