The Kansas Association of School Boards held a webinar Friday, focused on looking ahead to issues regarding public schools in the Kansas legislature in 2017.
For the KASB, the focal points for 2017 center around finance both in the state budget and in public schools.
“The state budget situation is something which has drawn a lot of attention,” Mark Tallman, KASB associate executive director for advocacy, said. “The November consensus revenue estimates dropped the projected revenues in the current year by over $350 million from what was budgeted and actually is projecting tax revenues this year will be $75 million less than last year. To put that in a little bit of context ... it means, effectively, the purchasing power of the state dropped two-and-a-half percent for next year.”
Kansas schools are also waiting to hear the results of the second half of the Gannon ruling, which is looking at the adequacy portion of school funding.
In addition, the block-grant system currently funding schools which was put in place in 2015 is set to expire on June 30. If no action is taken by state legislators — which includes more than 50 new members — they will have to create a new funding formula for Kansas schools.
“Some people are under the impression that if the legislature doesn’t do anything then we keep (block grants) in place,” Tallman said. “So, if nothing happens it doesn’t mean the block grants continue; it means we don’t have a school financing plan at all.”
Tallman presented KASB’s recommendations for any school funding system the legislature puts in place. The recommendation includes five points of emphasis: accountability, adequacy, equity, excellence and efficiency, and was submitted to Governor Sam Brownback in November.
The KASB regularly provides webinars and updates to help inform the public about issues impacting education in Kansas. All webinars are free for the public and can be accessed at www.kasb.org.