Education Update

The Brownback school finance plan which includes several pieces of policy intended to undermine public schools and public school teachers was adopted by both the House and Senate. The bill which should have been a simple response to the Supreme Court decision on equity in the school finance formula was turned into a vehicle for ALEC-inspired, anti-public education initiatives by the Senate in a floor debate.

Senators added amendments to the finance bill that would:

  • Grant millions of dollars in property tax cuts to parents of homeschooled or private school students,
  • Grant $10 million in tax credits to corporations who would provide vouchers to students to attend private schools - even unaccredited private schools,
  • Effectively end all teacher licensure standards for CTE, math, and science teachers, and
  • Strip K-12 teachers of the right to a due process hearing in the case of non-renewal, allowing administrators to fire teachers at will for no reason whatsoever.

Once this offensive bill passed the Senate, it went into conference committee with the House where an agreement was reached to keep all of this policy while funding the equity finance issues. When the bill hit the House floor it was rejected soundly.

The conference committee went back to work and then put together essentially the same bill but without the homeschooler property tax relief.  The conference committee report went first to the Senate where it was passionately debated. Democratic Senators Hensley, Pettey, Hawk, and Francisco blasted the bill over the misguided policy pieces until Senator Pat Apple (R-Louisburg) moved to close debate.

The motion to close debate caused an uproar as both Democrats and conservatives were cut off and denied the opportunity to have their voices heard. But the motion prevailed and the report was adopted on a vote of 22 to 16, sending it to the House.

After rejecting a similar bill the night before, House leadership spent the day arm-twisting and late last night the report was adopted on a vote of 63 to 57. Governor Brownback, who was AWOL during the entire school finance discussion, immediately tweeted how please he was that the legislature passed HIS school finance bill.

And this is how vouchers, the end of licensure standards, and the end of due process rights for teachers became law in Kansas without any hearings. Without any public input. Without appearing in bill form. Just being shoved into a finance bill on the fly by anti-teacher, anti-education legislators.

The vote count

If a legislator voted YEA on Sen Sub for HB 2506, that legislator supports vouchers, opposes teacher licensure, and believes teachers should be fired for no reason whatsoever at the whim of management.

HOUSE

Yeas: Barker, Bradford, Bruchman, Brunk, Couture-Lovelady, Carlson, Carpenter, Cassidy, Christmann, Claeys, Corbet, Crum, E. Davis, DeGraaf, Dove, Edwards, Esau, Estes, Gandhi, Garber, Goico, Grosserode, Hawkins, Hedke, Highland, Hildabrand, Hoffman, Houser, Howell, Huebert, Hutton, Johnson, Jones, Kahrs, Kelley, Kiegerl, Kinzer, Kleeb, Lunn, Macheers, Mason, Mast, McPherson, Meigs, Merrick, O'Brien, Osterman, Peck, Powell, Read, Rhoades, Rothlisberg, Rubin, Ryckman Jr., Ryckman Sr., Schwab, Seiwert, Suellentrop, Thimesch, Thompson, Todd, Vickrey, Waymaster.

Nays: Alcala, Alford, Anthimides, Ballard, Becker, Boldra, Bollier, Bridges, Burroughs, Campbell, Carmichael, Clayton, Concannon, Curtis, P. Davis, Dierks, Doll, Edmonds, Ewy, Finch, Finney, Frownfelter, Gonzalez, Henderson, Henry, Hibbard, Hineman, Jennings, Kelly, Kuether, Lane, Lusk, Lusker, Meier, Menghini, Moxley, Pauls, Perry, Petty, Phillips, Proehl, Rooker, Ruiz, Sawyer, Schroeder, Sloan, Sloop, Swanson, Tietze, Trimmer, Victors, Ward, Weigel, Whipple, Wilson, Winn, Wolfe Moore.

Absent or not voting: Carlin, Hill, Houston, Schwartz, Sutton.

SENATE

Yeas: Apple, Arpke, Bruce, Denning, Fitzgerald, Holmes, King, Knox, LaTurner, Love, Lynn, Melcher, O'Donnell, Olson, Ostmeyer, Petersen, Pilcher-Cook, Powell, Shultz, Smith, Tyson, Wagle.

Nays: Abrams, Bowers, Faust-Goudeau, Francisco, Haley, Hawk, Hensley, Holland, Kelly, Kerschen, Longbine, McGinn, Pettey, Pyle, V. Schmidt, Wolf.

Absent or Not Voting: Donovan, Masterson.