Kansas Association of School Boards members and local school leaders convened with the public at Beloit High School on Tuesday evening touting progress on several fronts that will start a “New Day in Kansas Education” while thanking Kansans and elected leaders for setting this new path forward.
“After years of uncertainty, several initiatives are coming together that will help Kansas students achieve their dreams,” said Amy Martin, KASB President.
The state’s new school finance formula and funding increases went into effect July 1. The investment of $200 million statewide, in the first year, will help students with greater academic needs and reduce student fees which parents pay.
In addition, the Kansas State Board of Education’s “Kansans Can” vision to lead the world in the success of each student continues this summer with the selection of 14 schools in seven districts which will pilot a re-design of the way education is delivered in Kansas. The state has also been implementing a new accountability system to help schools focus on student success with five key outcomes.
Those include; Kindergarten readiness, improving graduation rates, improving successful postsecondary completion, individual plans of study and addressing social and emotional needs measured locally. The focus is to challenge Kansans to rethink the current education system.
The expired block grant system has been replaced with a formula like the previous system used prior to the block grants, but it has more funding targeted at lower achieving student groups.
For the first time in almost a decade, a significant increase in school operating budgets has been provided. Much of that money is targeted at high priority programs. USD 273 Beloit alone received more than $560,000 in additional aid this school year based on the new formula.
This school year also marks the first year of a new State Board system which moves from reading and math tests to a much broader definition of education. It also includes a new measurement of how students succeed after high school.
The plan is multi-faceted in its approach in that it calls upon everyone from state leaders to school boards to educators to parents to local government to businesses and social services to be part of the ongoing process. Working together to identify needs and implement changes to improve education and student success rates locally while integrating it into a part of community development plans.
The State Board will be selecting the 14 schools in seven districts to lead the redesign experiment for education in Kansas to help all students succeed. The USD 273 Board of Education and faculty have agreed to apply to be one of the schools selected for the redesign. An announcement on which schools are selected is expected to be made August 8. For more information on the new state education funding mechanisms, initiatives and programs visit www.kasb.org.