TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly on Monday counseled a brand new bipartisan training legislation growing training spending that absolutely funds Kansas training for the third yr in a row whereas additionally increasing eligibility for personal college scholarships.
House Bill 2134, the product of negotiations between Home and Senate lawmakers and the governor’s workplace, funds the state’s 286 native public college districts at an annual charge of $5.2 billion for the finances yr starting July 1. It additionally locations restrictions on public faculties’ use of distant instruction and directs native college boards to make use of federal COVID-19 assist to present district staff a $500 bonus, amongst a bevy of coverage adjustments.
Whereas Kelly was not excessive on some provisions of the laws — such because the non-public college enlargement — she praised joint effort throughout the political spectrum for working to offer college students and lecturers wanted assets.
“Making certain youngsters have entry to a top quality training not solely helps them succeed. It helps our companies succeed and promotes financial growth by offering employers with a extremely educated, expert workforce,” Kelly mentioned.
The governor was joined by training advocates and a bipartisan group of lawmakers to signal laws guaranteeing funding by way of 2023. The Senate voted 35-4, and the Home later voted 107-9 to undertake the 5% finances hike.
She additionally signed House Bill 2313, a two-year extension of the statewide 20-mill property tax levy that raises about $750 million yearly for public faculties.
The measure was the final invoice to cross earlier than the Legislature adjourned earlier this month. It additionally offers property tax reimbursement for companies impacted by shutdowns or restrictions as a result of catastrophe emergency declarations.
Kelly, who campaigned as “the training governor,” signaled this measure would additional reverse years of inadequate college funding and tax coverage below former Gov. Sam Brownback.
“Once I took workplace, the State of Kansas had failed to completely fund our public faculties for practically a decade,” Kelly mentioned. “It’s extra essential than ever to help our lecturers and our faculties and to present them the instruments they should guarantee Kansas youngsters thrive.”
Nonetheless, the governor was much less enthusiastic in regards to the enlargement of a tax credit score program for low-income pupil scholarships touted by Kansas Republican legislators. The laws would broaden eligibility to incorporate college students who qualify at no cost or reduced-price meals.
This system is at present open to low-income college students eligible at no cost meals and attending one of many 100 lowest-performing public faculties. The whole tax credit would stay capped at $10 million a yr.
This provision of the legislation was amongst factors of emphasis for work executed within the Home Okay-12 Training Price range Committee, chaired by Rep. Kristey Williams, an Augusta Republican. She mentioned the scholarship enlargement was a step towards elevating instructional competency for extra Kansans.
“Training isn’t nearly cash. It’s about outcomes. It isn’t about most children. It’s about each child,” Williams mentioned in a joint assertion with Home Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe. “This invoice permits us to completely fund our public faculties whereas additionally ensuring choices can be found for numerous learners who might have further assets to succeed in their fullest potential.”
As well as, the brand new legal guidelines earmark pandemic reduction funding to pay for $5 million at school security grants and $3.9 million to enhance college psychological well being packages. Additionally they require an annual report on foster-care college students’ instructional outcomes.
Training advocates applauded the singing for assembly the wants specified by the Gannon college finance plan to revive equitable funding to the general public college system. They mentioned this is able to proceed to permit faculties to exchange positions that had been minimize and add new employees to help “pupil studying, psychological well being and school and profession readiness.”
“Collectively these actions by the governor and Legislature will assist college leaders enhance the success and lives of every pupil and the way forward for our state,” mentioned a launch from the Kansas Affiliation of College Boards co-signed by greater than half a dozen different state training advocacy teams. “College leaders are dedicated to the subsequent steps.”