2010-11 Legislative Platform
The Board of Education, through its staff, students and patrons, is committed to educational excellence. In order to achieve this high level of achievement for all, a stable, appropriate and equitable source of revenue, as a responsibility of the State, is imperative. Proper funding with an appropriate level of local control and decision-making increases the opportunity to provide every Kansas child with the level of educational services he/she requires in order to meet the challenges of the rapidly changing, technologically influenced world in which we now live.
The following are legislative issues the Board of Education believes are imperative in order to support the educational services and programs each Kansan deserves.
1. School Finance
USD 232 believes the state should provide for a base budget per pupil that would:
2. State Policy/Revenue Sources/Taxes
USD 232 supports a greater investment in establishing a state funding mechanism which continues equalization of resources and which is financially sustainable;
USD 232 supports legislation to limit the authority of the state, cities and counties to grant property tax abatements affecting funds available to school districts. USD 232 also believes school district input should be required before tax abatements are granted to newly created valuation and that state approval should be required before the state-imposed minimum levy is abated;
USD 232 recommends that due consideration be given to tax relief for citizens on fixed and/or low incomes;
USD 232 believes that whenever costs are incurred by local school districts that can be attributed to actions of any agency acting under state authority, those costs should be reimbursed to the school district by the state. This includes additional facilities and/or personnel needed due to new, mandated state programs;
USD 232 believes that legislation should support funds outside the General Fund/Capital Outlay sources to meet mandated federal requirements including but not limited to ADA modifications.
3. Special Education
USD 232 believes that necessary funding should be available to appropriately provide for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) without undue drain on the general fund budget and that special-education funding should be at 100 percent of excess costs.
USD 232 believes Kansas school districts should share in the responsibility to maximize efficiency to best use available funds;
USD 232 supports efforts by the state and districts to combine resources in order to gain better buying advantages when purchasing fuel, utilities, equipment and supplies;
USD 232 supports efforts to combine pooling opportunities with state government and higher education to assist all state entities in providing strong and affordable health insurance benefits for employees;
USD 232 supports the development of a statewide communication plan that facilitates improved/increased communication between the legislative bodies and individual school districts.
USD 232 believes as public-supported entities, Kansas school districts should be protected from the volatility of utility rate increases through carefully constructed and protected rates and tariffs, and further supports moving these expenditures out of the general fund.
6. Student Security
USD 232 supports legislation and enforcement of statutes which would require all registered sex offenders residing within 1,000 feet of a school or school bus stop to be required to provide notice to local school authorities of such residence.