The Shawnee Mission School District’s platform for the 2015 session of the Kansas Legislature not surprisingly has a lot to do with money.
As the legislature heads back into session in January facing declining revenue numbers and a big chunk of the state budget directed to school finance, school districts around the state face a lot of unknowns. Shawnee Mission Superintendent Jim Hinson told the board Monday that it will be an important legislative session. “Could we see a reduction in revenue during the current school year,” Hinson asked, “possibly yes, but we don’t know.”
Among the points in the slimmed-down platform adopted this year are supporting greater opportunities to raise funds at the local level, supporting state funding for all-day kindergarten, support for a new or reformed school finance formula and support for changes in special education funding that would be consistent across the state. The board decided to add opposition to any reduction in funding for the current school year.
The platform also contains a point that opposes legislation that might stop the Common Core standards – Kansas College and Career Ready Standards – or redirect implementation. The position supports “rigorous academic standards” to prepare students. The platform also opposes mandatory retention at the primary grade levels based on reading performance level. Legislation has been introduced in the past that would impose such a mandate.
The district’s position also opposes legislation that would “provide tuition tax credits or vouchers to attend private schools or permit charter schools to operate without meeting all the same requirements as public schools. It also supports maintaining school board elections in the spring to “retain a non-partisan focus and remain consistent with our fiscal year.”
The platform presented to the board, without additions, can be found here.