H Sub SB 83!
Write to Your Legislators! KanCare Rally, Next Meeting Greetings! The new bundled bill, H Sub for SB 83, originally a voucher only bill, has now been amended to falsely sweeten the pot to help ensure passage after massive opposition to its predecessor bill, SB 83. It may go to the House floor as early at Tuesday 3/14. See explanation in red below. Public Education - VouchersSB 83 H Sub for SB 83 (Means House Bill substitute for SB 83)Stephen Duerst, Federico Duerst Consulting Group*Hearing - House K-12 Education Budget, Mon. 3/6, 3:30 p.m.; Testimony due Fri. 3/3, 3:30 p.m. May go to House Floor as soon as Tuesday 3/14OpposeSupposedly provides scholarships to lower income students to attend private schools. Now income allowed is up to 400% of poverty level, or $180K for family of 4. Bill may be gutted and contents of another voucher bill inserted. Now bundled with a $72 million increase in special education funding; currently SE is underfunded by $160 million. ALSO adds a mandated teacher pay increase, but with no additional funding allocated for it. Uses teachers and special ed students as leverage to pass vouchers. Please send email letters to the following:
TO: [Your representative (& CC: senator) —find yours at ksleglookup.org; click on their photo to find contact info] CC: firstname.lastname@example.org, Chris.Croft@house.ks.gov, Vic.Miller@house.ks.gov - House Leadership Subject: Vote NO on H Sub for SB 83 Summary of Bill and Changes (Summary courtesy of Sen. Ethan Corson)H Sub SB 83 For three years now, leadership in Topeka has been trying to bring an unpopular Education Savings Account (ESA) voucher program to Kansas. Vouchers harm public schools by diverting public school dollars to private schools that are not held to the same standards and are not required to accept all students. Once phased in, the current version of this ESA bill (Sub for SB 83) will allow for private (and homeschool) students from a family of four making $180,000 to receive public dollars for tuition, tutors, laptops, and more. Leadership has indicated the ultimate goal is to have ESAs available to all private and homeschooled students. Private and homeschool students will receive approximately $5000 per year into their ESA. The balance can also be carried forward and used for college tuition/expenses—very beneficial to higher income families who can already afford private school tuition. ESA’s are not able to stand on their own merit; leadership is adding incentives to get them passed. After the outspoken opposition to school voucher bills (268 testified in opposition this year), leadership is trying to force lawmakers to vote for ESAs by bundling the voucher program into bill Sub for SB 83 along with: ● A $72 million increase in special education funding (the first year of the governor’s proposal to fully fund SPED); SPED has been underfunded for over a decade and is currently underfunded by $160 million. ● A mandated teacher pay increase (but with no additional funding to cover it) It’s disingenuous and sneaky. We need legislators to reject this bill that uses students and teachers as leverage. They should fight for a straightforward funding bill that fully funds special education and does not include vouchers/ESAs. Currently, districts must move money from their general operating budgets to cover the SPED shortfall. This hurts all students. Fully funding SPED will free up general operating funds that districts can use in ways that best support student learning. Additional Info for legislator letters: Urge them to vote NO!
There was massive opposition to the SB 68, Education Savings Accounts (ESA’s)
There were 268 pieces of opposition testimony, 240 were from private citizens.
Bill does not fund half of the special education budget needed. Districts currently remove funding from their general education budgets to try to make up for the shortage.
No money allocated in the bill for teacher pay increases
Bill could freeze and remove existing education funding from school budgets to additionally pay for the pay salary increases, which ties the hands of local school boards and their budgeting process.This could siphon money from existing programs and lead to teacher pay cuts in future years.
Do not tie the needed Special Education increase and teacher pay increases to a voucher program that simultaneously takes funding away from our public schools.
To help Kansas children and teachers, pass a clean funding bill with the increase to special education funding as outlined in the Governor’s proposed budget
Also renew at-risk high density funding for students and districts that are currently funded.
Remember to add personal examples or stories if you have them
To end, reiterate your opposition and sign off with your name, (affiliation, optional) and city
Medicaid Expansion Rally 3/15
If you haven’t already, please sign up for the KanCare Expansion Rally on Wed. 3/15. RSVP link is below:
by: Connie Brown