Skyline Superintendent Becca Flowers presented a Legislative update to the USD 438 Board of Education with March 15 the first of several critical dates for solving the education funding policy.

The Ides of March (March 15) turned out to be a bad day for Julius Caesar. Senators assassinated Caesar in Rome in 44 B.C.

Educators in Kansas are looking at March 15 when a study by Lori Taylor, ordered by the Kansas Senate, will probably disclaim the need for additional funding for education.

Skyline Superintendent Becca Flowers presented an update on school funding and Legislative action during the USD 438 Board of Education meeting Feb. 12.

Flowers said the Senate was confident Taylor's study would show no increase in education funding was necessary and that is based on her past history in a similar Texas study. The Texas Supreme Court determined her findings in a similar situation in Texas were flawed and lacked credibility, Flowers said.

The March date is critical for educators. Taylor's study will be release just 16 days before the Kansas Legislature takes its first adjournment. That doesn't leave much time for the Legislators to draft a bill, based in the Taylor study, and have it passed by April 6.

Oral arguments on the bill are scheduled for May 22 and the Kansas Supreme Court will decide if the bill meets their criteria by June 30.

If the bill doesn't meet the Court's criteria, the Legislature will have to pass another bill very fast and it has to be approved or Kansas schools could shut down by mid-July until a suitable bill is passed, Flowers said.

Currently, Senate education funding Bill 19 provides $293 million for Fiscal Years 2018 and 2019 combined. The Kansas Board of Education wants an additional $601 million, the trail court wants an additional $527 million, a cost study from 2002 and 2006 indicated $1.5 billion is needed in total for both years.

With everything considered, an estimated $600 million needs to be added for Fiscal Year 2019.

While the Senate has ordered it's study, the House is looking at amending the Kansas Constitution and pulling protection for education funding. The Supreme Court's duty is to see the Legislature upholds the constitution. If education funding is pulled from the Constitution, it no longer has the protection of the Supreme Court.

"It would take away the funding protection we do receive," Flowers said.

Without it's place in the Constitution, funding for K-12 would have no more protection than funding for the Kansas Department of Transportation that has suffered from years of funding being shifted to other departments.

There is some good news on state revenue with more coming in than anticipated but it's not a long term solution by any means, Flowers said.

The Legislators are working hard to find a workable funding solution but there is much to do.

While the Legislators are trying to figure out a funding solution, Skyline is working on the Pillars of Skyline Redesign. This is an effort to increase productivity and make Skyline a more efficient facility.

The Redesign covers four areas: Project Based Learning-Shari Gates leader; School, Community and Family Relations-Steven Novotny leader; Flex Scheduling-Morgan Ballard-leader; School Culture-Kenny Eddy leader.

Project Based Learning includes adding more classes, repurposing the library for more space but not getting rid of the books, more focus on professional learning, adding a garden and school farm and summer school.

School, Community and Family Relations will put more focus on civic engagement, events and family nights.

Flex Scheduling will focus more on student needs, flexible scheduling, tailoring courses and programs to individuals, accommodate projects across content, work more with Pratt Community College, CTE and virtual school, focus more on learning vs. seat time.

School Culture will develop student leaders, asserting that everybody matters, commitment to everyone's success, develop a strong sense of connection and continue to work on a positive place to learn.

The Board approved a number of resignations and approved several new contracts.

New Contracts: Andrew Nation-Head Coach for high school and middle school track; Morgan Ballard-Assistant Coach for high school track; Bob Lee-Assistant Coach for high school track; Lori Anschutz-Assistant Coach middle school track; Chris Sanders-Assistant Coach middle school track; Bill Brennan-Food Service worker.

Resignations: Rhonda Kreslake-Food Service worker; Chris Sanders-Assistant Coach middle school football; Darci Poland-High School Pep Club sponsor; Kathryn McAllister-High School Pep club sponsor; Heike Beeson-ELA/SS teacher; Andrew Ramirez-ELA and Foreign Language teacher.

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