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Minutes for SB235 - Committee on K-12 Education Budget

Short Title

Enacting the back to school act to require school districts to provide an full-time, in person attendance option for all students beginning on March 26, 2021.

Minutes Content for Wed, Mar 10, 2021

Chair Williams Called the meeting to order at 3:31

Chair Williams opened the hearing on SB235,

There was no proponent oral testimony

Written Proponent Testimony:

Laura Klingensmith, Parent,(Attachment 1)

Opponent Oral Testimony

Mark Tallman, Associate Executive Director, KSDE, provided testimony to the committee stating his concerns over the bill wanting to know if the bill is a mandate or order. Stating that there are issues in the bill such as there is nothing in the bill relating to students who are expelled or suspended. Some parents may have agreed in advance to have their child in remote setting this semester. This bill would appear to require changes even in voluntary agreements. (Attachment 2)

David Smith, Chief Communications Officer, Shawnee Mission School District, provided testimony to the committee stating that the bill because its mandate would supersede reasonable Board and local public health experts decision-making with regard to the safety and security of our students, teachers, and staff. They believe this bill complicates future responses to additional disruption related to COVID-19 or other causes. Their concern is immediate and practical and we urge the committee to not pass the bill, or amend it to delay the implementation until after the conclusion of the current school year. They would also ask that districts retain the flexibility to require families to stick with their choice of learning model for a specific length of time, to be determined by the district.(Attachment 3)

Discussion ensued.

Dr. Alicia Miguel, Interim Superintendent, Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools, provided testimony to the committee stating that the direction this bill dictates is much more important than the March 26, 2021 date associated with it.  If passed, it is on the books until it is changed. In case we experience another emergency, or a resurgence of the virus, I would hope state officials understand the need to provide a level of flexibility for Kansas communities, so that we can respond as efficiently and effectively at the local level. (Attachment 4)

Discussion ensued.

Opponent Written Testimony:

Dr. Dena Hubbard, MD, American Academy of Pediatrics,(Attachment 5)

Mark Desetti, KNEA Director of Legislative Advocacy,(Attachment 6)

Deena Horst and Ben Jones, State Board of Education Legislative Liaisons,(Attachment 7)

Rebecca Brown, ESOL Teacher, FL Schlagle High School,(Attachment 8)

The Chair asked for a motion to suspend the rules and take action on SB235.  Representative Hoffman moved and Representative Tarwater seconded the motion.The motion passed on a vote of 9 to 4.

Representative Hoye moved to amend the language in SB235 using the Hoye Amendment 1. Representative Ousley seconded the motion.The motion to amend failed on a voice vote.

Representative Hoye moved to amend the language in SB235 using the Hoye Amendment 2. Representative Winn seconded the motion. The motion to amend failed on a voice vote.

Representative Hoffman moved to favorably pass SB235. Representative Tarwater seconded the motion. The motion passed on a voice vote.

Chair Williams Adjourned the meeting at 5:45 PM.