At the regularly scheduled meeting Monday night U.S.D. 259 board members received an update on the 2013 legislative session. The session is nearing the halfway point with first adjournment scheduled for April 5th.
Director of Governmental Relations, Diane Gjerstad, briefed the board on a number of bills that would directly or indirectly impact Wichita schools. Gjerstad outlined a list of legislation nearing approval, having already been passed by one house, or still under consideration in committee that may yet be introduced for approval in the second half of the session.
Board members were clearly concerned about the effect of a proposed amendment to the State constitution that would grant legislators the sole right to determine what constitutes the “suitable” finance of public schools. The constitution was amended in 1966 to require the state to provide suitable financing and that has led to lawsuits; the latest of which is now being heard by the Kansas Supreme Court.
But, that was not the only legislation that troubled board members. Legislation affecting school standards and reducing potential funding was also touched upon.
At the end of the briefing Board President Linn Rogers proposed sending a letter to state legislators urging cooperation and consultation with the locally elected board when considering legislation that impacts education.
On a unanimous vote a motion was approved to send the letter to the south central Kansas delegation and appropriate committee members urging cooperation and consultation with local governing bodies on proposed legislation.