On March 29th, the Kansas House voted to pass HB 2773, also known as the Kansas Safe and Secure Schools Act. Principally, the bill would:

Coordinate with the Kansas State Board of Education and other agencies to develop statewide standards for safe and secure school buildings.

— Empower local school districts to coordinate with local law enforcement and emergency management agencies to review and evaluate current building infrastructure policies and procedures.

— Establish the Safe and Secure Schools Grant Program with funds that can be used for improvements to any facet of the school safety and security plan including infrastructure and training.

— Provide standardized firearm safety education programs that may be offered by school districts.

— Appropriate funds to the Department of Education, which will be used for two FTE positions to review and evaluate school safety and security plans.

The provisions of this bill would encourage schools to make improvements, such as reinforced doors, additional security cameras, and training opportunities to enhance the overall security of school grounds.

The Safe and Secure Schools Act will advance communication between local school districts and law enforcement. Additionally, for the purposes of promoting the safety and protection of students via education, the State Board of Education would be required to establish curriculum guidelines for a standardized firearm safety education program. This bill has been sent to the Senate for consideration.

K-12 equity and adequacy legislation

On March 28th, the K-12 Education Budget Committee finalized its work on HB 2445. The bill, as introduced, attempts to provide fixes to the four equity issues identified in Gannon V. The bill also addressed the finding from the Legislative Post Audit on K-12 Transportation.

The Committee amended the bill to reflect both equity and adequacy provisions. The full House was scheduled to debate the measure on April 2nd.

The Kansas State Department of Education has provided documents with the major policy provisions and the school district allotments. Those can be found at: www.ksde.org 

Constitutional Ammendment Introduced

On March 29th, the House Taxation Committee met. John Donley, representing the Kansas Coalition for Fair Funding, a group of Kansas agricultural and business leaders requested introduction for a constitutional amendment.

The short title for HCR 5029 is “Constitutional amendment to declare the power to appropriate funding for education is exclusively a legislative power and not subject to judicial review.”

HCR 5029 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for its consideration and is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday, April 3.