Kansas Bills We Are Watching
Please Advocate for our Schools
The 2022 legislative session is winding down, but not yet over. The legislators have been on break most of April, allowing the Governor to veto bills, but will return on Monday, April 25 to continue their work. Advocate groups are asking those who support public education to contact legislators for two purposes; sustain the Governor’s veto of bad bills and increase funding for special education.
Sustain the Veto
Education bills that were opposed by advocates of public education were sent to Governor Kelly and she has vetoed them. Even though these bills did not pass the KS House with enough votes to override the Governor’s veto, legislative leadership could still attempt to do so.
SB58, the so-called "Parents' Bill of Rights" wasn’t written for parents, but to appease outside interests looking to interfere with our public schools. Parents already have access to their student’s teachers and educational materials, which is why not a single Kansas parent spoke in support of this bill during the legislative process - because parents know that this bill will be bad for students, teachers, and public education. This bill is not pro-public education and leaves our teachers and administrators feeling unappreciated and under attack - at a time when they are already understaffed and overworked trying to recover from a global pandemic.
SB160 is a Transgender Discrimination bill which seeks to ban transgender and gender nonconforming children from participating in school sports. The Lawrence Board of Education Policy prohibits discrimination against any individual on the basis of gender identity or gender expression. This anti-transgender bill will hurt our LGBTQ youth and families, public education, and the Kansas economy. The veto from Governor Kelly sent a clear message to the Kansas Legislature that Kansans do not support state-sponsored bullying of our youth.
An informative overview of these two bills can be found on the Kansas Association of School Boards website.
Increase funding for Special Education
Currently in statute, Kansas is obligated to pay 92% of the excess costs for special education. The estimated payment to Kansas schools in 2022 is 76.4%, and the current fiscal year 2023 allocation will only cover 70.8% of the excess costs. With revenue projections in Kansas higher than expected advocates for public education are asking Kansas to increase the level of funding for special education in the current budget proposal. In fact, Governor Kelly called for a $30M increase in her recently released budget amendment.
More information can be found on the Kansas Association of School Boards website.
Please write to your representatives and ask them to vote to sustain the veto of these bills and increase funding for special education. It would also be helpful to write to the leadership in both chambers as well.