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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • KASB hosts meeting for local officials

  • State legislators have just wrapped up their work for their 2013 session, but members of the Kansas Association of School Boards are already looking to what will happen during next year's session.
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  • State legislators have just wrapped up their work for their 2013 session, but members of the Kansas Association of School Boards are already looking to what will happen during next year's session.
    That's according to Mark Tallman, KASB's associate executive director for advocacy.
    He and Tom Krebs, governmental relations specialist for KASB, met with local school officials Wednesday at the Leavenworth school district's administrative office.
    The KASB officials discussed three issues that Tallman described as ongoing hot topics ― education funding, standards and testing including what are known as Common Core standards and teacher negotiations.
    Wednesday's meeting was the fourth of 24 meetings being conducting this month across the state for what is called the June 2013 KASB Advocacy Tour.
    Tallman said feedback from these meetings will help in the development of policy positions.
    State legislators wrapped up work this weekend. The 2013 legislative session will have its official close June 20.
    About a dozen people from the Leavenworth, Fort Leavenworth and Basehor-Linwood school districts attended Wednesday's meeting including the superintendents from the three districts and other staff members. Some of the districts' board members also were in attendance.
    One of the people attending the meeting was Dayna Miller. She's the president of the Basehor-Linwood Board of Education and a member of the KASB Board of Directors.
    Tallman said school choice had been considered as one of the topics for this month's KASB meetings. But the Common Core standards, which have been adopted by most states including Kansas, became a major topic by the end of the legislative session, and this topic replaced school choice.
    Tallman said bills that didn't pass this year in the Kansas Legislature could come back for consideration in 2014.
    "There's a number of bills that did not pass that will be back," he said.
    Loyal Torkelson, a member of the Leavenworth Board of Education, said he would like for KASB to lobby for state funding for full-day kindergarten instead of funding for only half-day classes.
    Torkelson also said he'd like to lobby to lower the distance requirement for funding for busing. Currently, the state provides funding for the transportation of students who live 2.5 miles or farther from school. Torkelson said the distance requirement should be reduced to a mile or 1.5 miles.
    "Nobody ever works on those two things," he said.
    Tallman said he's not sure that no one has worked on the issues. He said it's a matter of not being successful.
    Participants were given cards on which they could write about other issues they believe will be important during the 2014 legislative session.
    During the meeting, the participants were asked to provide written feedback about the issues of funding, standards and negotiations. On one form, they were asked to indicate which taxes should be raised to generate more revenue for school funding or what areas in school operations could be cut. They also were asked to rank their positions regarding standards and testing. They also were asked to indicate their feelings about changing the law regarding negotiations between school boards and teachers.
    Page 2 of 2 - At the conclusion of the meeting, Tallman said the participants could take materials they were given back to their individual school boards for additional feedback.
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