Daily Archives: Dec. 20, 2012

Moderates make one last push for school funding

At the end of a Legislative Educational Planning Committee meeting this week, Sen. John Vratil, R-Leawood, started to make a motion to increase school base aid to $4,492 per pupil, as promised in the 2006 plan upheld by the Kansas Supreme Court, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. But the committee chairman, Rep. Steve Huebert, R-Valley Center, cut Vratil off, adjourned the meeting and walked out, along with two other committee members. Vratil and the remaining members, including Sen. Jean Schodorf, R-Wichita, voted anyway, approving the motion 7-0. Of those seven members, five (including Vratil and Schodorf) won’t be in the Legislature next session, so the motion is sure to go nowhere.

UPDATE: Huebert said he adjourned the meeting because all the agenda items had been covered. He also said there were snow warnings and some lawmakers from western Kansas needed to drive home.

Will Legislature, Brownback go after teachers union?

Officials with the Kansas National Education Association are upset that a draft report from Gov. Sam Brownback’s school-efficiency task force recommends revising or narrowing state laws that govern collective-bargaining rights of teachers, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. “Collective bargaining around this state works,” said KNEA lobbyist Mark Desetti. “Our teachers don’t go out there and demand exorbitant salaries, and they don’t have a right to strike. They go out there, and they work with their school districts.” Teachers already were unhappy that Brownback didn’t appoint any teachers to the task force, and that the task force declined to hear any testimony from teachers. Desetti also noted that none of the presenters to the task force indicated that negotiations with teachers were a problem. “This never came up in their meetings,” he said. “It appears there is an agenda here.”

Evans will be missed

Congratulations to Andover superintendent Mark Evans on being chosen to lead the Omaha school district. Though Omaha’s district is about 10 times larger than Andover’s, it is similar in size and demographics to Wichita’s district, where Evans previously worked for 20 years, including serving as a principal, interim superintendent and deputy superintendent. Some of Evans’ highlights in Andover include a successful bond issue and increases in student achievement. He also was active in the community, serving on several boards. He will be missed.