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Minutes for SB16 - Committee on Education

Short Title

Authorizing school districts to expend at-risk education funds on evidence-based learning programs.

Minutes Content for Tue, Feb 19, 2019

Nick Myers, staff revisor, provided a brief overview of SB16 which the Committee had a hearing for on February 7, 2019. 

Senator Givens asked if the specific programs listed on page three are proprietary. Mr. Myers responded that the word programs is generic, and the programs listed are for example purposes.

Vice-Chairperson Alley asked how to fund for students that need programs such as JAG-K but are not considered at-risk. Senator Rucker responded that the need is significant and includes thousands of children, however the programs are targeted and not funded to be a universally applied program for those in need. Senator Rucker responded that there will always have students that will not be served under current funding. Chairperson Baumgardner asked Chuck Knapp to address questions about the students in the pilot program of JAG-K. Mr. Knapp, President and CEO, Jobs For Americas Graduates Kansas, responded that 28% of students in his program statewide are at-risk but not eligible for free lunch.  Chairperson Baumgardner responded that the funds can be used for academically at-risk, but how we are determining which students are at-risk is dictated by free lunch criteria. She gave the example of dyslexic students that may not qualify for free-lunch, but they are at-risk. Vice-Chairperson Alley clarified the students in JAG-K are at-risk, but not all qualify for free and reduced lunch. He further clarified that under this bill the students that are at-risk can be funded through the at-risk funding.

Mr. Myers passed out an amendment being offered by Chairperson Baumgardner. The Chair discussed the balloon which adds language to include Boys and Girls Club as was discussed during the previous committee hearing. Chairperson Baumgardner discussed the reasons for the amendment and inclusion of the additional language. (Attachment 4)

Senator Taylor discussed reasons that students are at-risk and stated there are so many programs and ways to be considered at-risk, noting she does not understand why these three programs are included by name in the bill. Chairperson Baumgardner responded that feedback she received has been that school districts are not always sure why type of programs they can use at-risk funding for and adding program names will help clarify types of programs that can be used. The Chair noted that the language “such as” will ensure that other similar programs can utilize the funding.

Vice-Chairperson Alley asked if this bill makes funding amount decisions. Chairperson Baumgardner responded that it is up to the school boards to fund programs as they see fit and it would be under local control.

Chairperson Baumgardner indicated the committee was back on the motion to adopt the balloon amendment.  Motion passed.

Senator Pilcher-Cook responded that she sees this as a good bill, and one that the Supreme Court may approve of.

Senator Pilcher-Cook moved, Senator Estes seconded to recommend SB16 as amended favorably for passage. Motion passed.

Senator Sykes stated she is in favor of this bill because of the language "such as" will help nad she noted she does not want this bill to limit any programs but feels confident that the school boards make those decision.

Chairperson Baumgardner closed the hearing on SB16.