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Minutes for HB2068 - Committee on K-12 Education Budget

Short Title

Amending the tax credit for low income students scholarship program act to expand student eligibility.

Minutes Content for Tue, Jan 26, 2021

The meeting was called to order by Chair Kristey Williams at 3:34 pm

Norma Provided a brief over HB2068 (Attachment 1)

Questions and comments were asked by Representative Tarwater, Ousley

Nick Myers Provided a brief over the changes for the HB2068(Attachment 2)

Proponents Oral Testimony

Ross Izard, Vice President, Policy & Government Affairs, ACE Scholarships, provided testimony on HB2068 in that it reflects changes that will make the Tax Credit for Low Income Students Scholarship Program fairer, stronger, and better able to serve the intended population of disadvantaged Kansas students.(Attachment 3)

Mike Mcshane, Edchoice, provided some context around the eligibility changes to the Tax Credit for Low-Income Students Scholarship Program contained in HB2068.(Attachment 4)

Michael Wescott, Support Catholic Schools, Spoke of how the Tax Credit for Low-Income Students would positively impact the schools he represents.(Attachment 5)

Libby Knox, Catholic Education Foundation, presented testimony to the commitee over the positive effect the Tax Credit for Low-Income Students would have and asked to remove the restrictions that deprive students of access to meaningful opportunities.(Attachment 6)

Dr Delia Shropshire, Holy Savior Academy, Provided testimony on  how this bill could ensure that every child has the chance to learn, grow and develop in an academic environment that meets their needs academically, culturally, socially, emotionally and spiritually.  (Attachment 7)

Wilfredo Sanchez, Parent, Provided testimony hoping that the scholarship can be changed so that families with children in private schools can get these scholarships for all of their children, no matter where they went to school last year.(Attachment 8)

Bob Corkins, Chief Lobbyist, Frontier Peace Advisors, Provided testimony that stated that the crux of the proposed change is to expand the program’s application to more than just those children in the 100 lowest-scoring elementary schools of this state.  Current law leaves things up to the State Board of Education to declare which are the lowest performing schools.  The Board chose to use aggregate school test scores in Math and English Language Arts that are part of its Academic Performance Index.(Attachment 9)

Questions and comments were asked by Representative Williams, Landwehr, Winn, Penn, Tarwater, Hoye

Proponents Written Testimony

Lynee Habiger, Principal, Sacred Heart Cathedral Catholic School, Dodge City(Attachment 10)

Gerry Hamiliton, Principal, St Anne Catholic School, Wichita Kansas(Attachment 11)

Brandon D Relph, Principal, St Patrick Catholic School, Wichita Kansas(Attachment 12)

Toni James, Parent, Holy Savior Catholic Academy, Wichita Kansas(Attachment 13)

Zach Eckert, Regional Advocacy Director, ExcelinEd in Action(Attachment 14)

Elizabeth Patton, Americans for Prosperity Kansas(Attachment 15)

Evangelina Abril, Parent, Topeka KS(Attachment 16)

Nick Anderson, Principal from Holy Family Catholic School Topeka KS(Attachment 17)

James Franko, President, Kansas Policy Institute(Attachment 18)

Chuck Weber, Executive Director, KS Catholic Conference(Attachment 19)

Opposition Oral Testimony

G.A. Buie, Executive Director, USA-Kansas School Superintendents Association, provided testimony that there is no strong evidence in Kansas that private schools are out preforming their public-school counterparts. They have both public and private schools who are showing strong growth. (Attachment 20)

Liz Meitl, Kansas Association of Special Education Administrators, Provided testimony stating that Public schools, under federal law, must serve all students. They are both morally and legally bound to provide a free and appropriate education to all students, regardless of their cognitive, behavioral, or physical differences. Private schools are not required to serve all students, and they may reject or expel students based on whatever criteria suits them.(Attachment 21)

Joan Gilson, PHD, Olathe Public Education Network, provided testimony stating that HB2068 fails children and fails all Kansans. It fails children academically. It fails Kansans economically.(Attachment 22)

Mary Sinclair PHD Speaking on behalf of KS PTA, provided testimony stating that the tax credit scholarship program in reality gives choice to private non-public schools, not to parents. Private, non-public schools by definition can be selective about who they choose to admit and who they choose to reject.(Attachment 23)

Mark Tallman, Executive Director, Kansas Association of School Boards, provided testimony stating that the purpose and goal of public education has always been to provide every child access to a high-quality education, regardless of wealth or family status, location, race, religion, aptitude, or disability.(Attachment 24)

Eric Gould, member, Game on for Kansas Schools,  provided testimony stating their opposition to this bill because they oppose expanding a program that is discriminatory. Stating that there is nothing in this bill that requires participating schools to provide transportation or lunches and they are not required to take all of those who apply.(Attachment 25)

Dr. Michael Fulton, Superintendent, Shawnee Mission School District, providing testimony that the Shawnee Mission School District  is in opposition to HB2068, which will expand eligibility for the Low-Income Student Scholarship Act beyond its original legislative intent, diverting scarce public dollars away from public schools. This will erode the ability of public schools to continue in their role as the engine that drives the success of Kansas.(Attachment 26)

Michael Poppa, Executive Director, Mainstream Coalition, Provided testimony affirming the right of every Kansan to an affordable, equitable, and excellent public education, from early childhood to post graduate opportunity, adequately funded by the state, that respects the professions that care for our children.(Attachment 27)

Richard Profit, Superintendent, USD 250 Pittsburg, Provided testimony stating that Public schools, under federal law, must serve all students. They are both morally and legally bound to provide a free and appropriate education to all students, regardless of their cognitive, behavioral, or physical differences. Private schools are not required to serve all students, and they may reject or expel students based on whatever criteria suits them.(Attachment 28)

Lori DeNooy,Kansas PTA President, Provided Testimony that the tax credit scholarship program in reality gives choice to private non-public schools, not to parents. Private, non-public schools by definition can be selective about who they choose to admit and who they choose to reject.(Attachment 29)

Questions and comments were asked by Representative Hoye, Johnson, Williams Landwehr, Penn, Tarwater, Ousley, Estes, Winn

Opposition Written Testimony

Dr Tonya Merrigan Superintendent, USD 229 Blue Valley Schools(Attachment 30)

Becky Plate, Board Member, USD Eudora(Attachment 31)

Elizabeth Patton, State Director, Americans for Prosperity(Attachment 32)

Patty Logan, Stand Up Blue Valley: Families for Our Schools(Attachment 33)

John Allison, Superintendent, Olathe Public Schools UD 233(Attachment 34)

Stephen Linkous, Chief of Staff, Kansas Public Schools(Attachment 35)

Mark Desetti, KNEA, Director of Legislative Advocacy(Attachment 36)

Nathan Grebowiec, Board member of USD 270 Plainville(Attachment 37)

Gail Jamison Board of Education Representative for USD 265 Goddard(Attachment 38)

Shawnee County Public School District, Districts 437,345,450, 372, 501(Attachment 39)(Attachment 40)(Attachment 41)

Deena Horst & Ben Jones, Legislative Liaisons, State Board of Education(Attachment 42)

Pam Stranathan, Superintendent, USD 231 Gardner(Attachment 43)

Wayne Burke, Superintendent, USD 230 Spring Hill(Attachment 44)

Patty Carter, Director of Special Education(Attachment 45)

Chair Williams Adjourned the meeting at 6:45