While the Shawnee Mission School District is struggling to fund all our priorities, anti-education legislators in Topeka are trying to further reduce funding to our schools. Please take note of a few bills currently pending at the state capitol.BILLS REDUCING PUBLIC EDUCATION FUNDING
There are four “voucher” type bills (HB2465, HB2552, HB2724, and HB2725) in the Kansas House that will allow for the diversion of tax dollars from our public schools that serve to educate all Kansas children, to private schools that are not required to meet the same inclusionary standards. To support our students and teachers, we need to ensure public tax dollars stay with public schools and that we maintain the level of funding that was finally provided for during the 2019 legislative session.To get a better understanding of the reasons public education advocates oppose these bills, you can read Kansas PTA’s testimony and SMSD’s testimony opposing HB2465, and Game on for Kansas Schools’ testimony in opposition of HB2552. HB2724 and HB2725 are the other two bills and are also opposed by public education advocacy groups.
SB271 - BILL TO MAINTAIN CURRENT FUNDING
The current school finance formula provides extra funds for schools with high numbers of at-risk students. This "high density at-risk funding" is set to expire (sunset) this year. If the funding sunsets, SMSD will lose $1 million annually.
SB271 was introduced to permanently repeal the sunset of the high density at-risk funding (i.e. continue current funding). This bill passed out of committee but was amended to delay the sunset by three years, instead of repealing. While a complete repeal would have been preferred, we should encourage senators to pass this bill to ensure our districts maintain this important funding piece for now.
MEDICAID EXPANSION UPDATE
Expanding Medicaid will increase health care access for a significant number of families in our SMSD community. Unfortunately, despite a bipartisan compromise, Senate President Susan Wagle is preventing the Medicaid Expansion bill from being considered.
STATE ELECTIONS MATTER
STATE ELECTIONS MATTER! In 2020, every state senate and house seat is on the ballot! Be sure to investigate candidates' records when it comes to supporting public schools.