Category Archives: KSDE

New Commissioner at KSDE

The new majority of the state board of education has a new commissioner of education: Alexa Posney.

“Posny has long been a favorite of moderates on the board, dating to her previous tenure with the state Department of Education. She is a former deputy education commissioner overseeing curriculum and accreditation programs, leaving that post in 2006 to work for the U.S. Department of Education. … Posny will start July 1 at a salary of $165,000 a year.”

The Lawrence Journal-World reminds us of the size and scope of the schooling system in Kansas: “Posny will lead an agency that administers approximately $3.1 billion in funding to 450,000 students and tens of thousands of teachers spread over small, medium and large school districts.”

Welcome back to Kansas. commissioner. And good luck.
Board names new Kansas education commissioner. Wichita Eagle, May 9.

Long time education official takes over at state agency, Lawrence Journal-World.

Wrap-up of the Legislative Session

KSDE has gone into podcasting.

On the KSDE home page, selecting News and then Podcasts will take you to some audio (and video) files from Dale Dennis (Interim Commissioner) and Veryl Peter (Director of School Finance). Look for the files “Legislative Update.”

The most recent update was recorded on May 2. In it, Dennis (with a few comments from Peter along the way) reviews the most significant legislation of the past legislative session. The roughly 25 minute presentation is divided into five segment.

We’re not sure whether these files can actually be used on an iPod or not. We were unable to import them into the iTunes software. You can hear (and see)  the files in the Windows Media player, which comes standard on many computers.

Here are some notes of the presentation.  Most of it is composed of paraphrases rather than direct quotes.

Part 1:

Increase of base aid per pupil

Increase in the weighting of at-risk students

Threshold for getting high-enrollment weighting has gone down

SB 68

Funds non-proficiency at-risk students, and says states must have an anti-bullying policy.

“Highly encourages” character education in all grades. “Gets close” to a mandate.

 

Part 2:

Update your crisis plan.

 
SB 95: No more juvenile detention facilities, but instead ‘psychiatric treatment facilities.” No other change.

SB 109: Lets districts pay new hires before schools open, as long as they are working.

SB 129: Schools must notify law enforcement of any student suspensions or expulsions. Law enforcement will notify drivers services, which will pull drivers licenses of offending students.

All day K:

Governor proposed 5-year phase in. “Everybody thinks all-day kindergarten is a great deal, unfortunately this year the money ran out.” It will not be implemented.

SB 362 KPERS: Lets non-school government employees sing up right away and not wait for a year. (School employees already had this.) Has a 5-year vesting provision. Multiplier .175 is the same. You can use a 3-year average for determining benefits. Now changed to a 5-year average for any who start after July 1, 2009. Normal retirement age is 65 +5 of services or 60 years old with 30 years of service

Part 3

Adds 2 percent COLA for 65+. Employee contribution is now 4 percent. Now, it will be (for 2009 hires) 6 percent contribution. Rate will match what the state contribution is in the future. There is also a $300, one time payment for people who retired in prior to July 1, 1997.

Unfunded liability of KPERS is a problem. Through 2033, this bill will save the state $2.6 billion, at least half of the unfunded liability will be addressed this way.

SB 2185

Covers 5 teacher scholarship programs, especially noteworthy for loan cancellation.

Other:

Idea to hold a second student count during the school year did not pass.

SB 2310

Local option budget is at 31 percent max. You have to have an election to use this. If you have a declining enrollment or COLA levy last year, you may continue what you had last year. This affects only a few districts.

Part 4

Most districts have to have an election to go from 30 percent to 31 percent LOB. They don’t think that having an election is worth the trouble for that one percent.

SB 2368

More about LOB. Allows a district to go to 32 percent with an election. Also: $400,000 for an after-school program, requires local match, 2-hour program, and a summer program. No school can get ore than $25,000 from the state

Teacher mentoring: $1,000 per teachers to serve as mentors to year-one teachers. Includes $500 for mentoring a second-year teacher.

Special ed: Still working on how much supplementary fund districts will get. 

Part 5

Go after every dollar of Medicaid that you can (Medicaid). Funding could go up to $26,500 for special ed. “That isn’t too bad.”

We’ve seen a lot of post audit activity. Recruitment and retention report: not much new. There will be a problem; 33 percent are 50+, 25 percent will be eligible for KPERS in 5 years.

Virtual schools: said we are lax and need to follow the original plan for monitoring. Districts may not give virtual school students to other districts. We will go back to original guidelines within 10 years. The rules were there but we did not monitor them.

There will be a charter school out in the next week to ten days.

An early childhood ed audit is underway.

There will be another audit for voc ed. The focus will be on the cost of individual programs.

Corkins One Year Later

The Wichita Eagle editorial blog notes the one-year anniversary of Bob Corkin’s appointment to the job of Commissioner of Education.

The KC Star reminds readers of the usual criticisms, and channels the claims that charter schools aren’t really public schools.

The Topeka Capitol-Journal provides a review as well, and reminds us of what may be Corkin’s most enduring legacy–getting grants to start a data warehouse that will track individual student performance. The idea, sensible enough, is that schools should know what works at an individual level.

KSDE Has a New Web Site

The Kansas State Department of Education has a new web site.

Actually, it’s the same address as before — http://www.ksde.org — but the look is new.

Time to update those bookmarks.