Highlights of the June State Board of Education Meeting
TOPEKA—June 14, 2010—The Kansas State Board of Education met June 8–9, 2010, in the boardroom at the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). All Board members were present with the exception of John Bacon.
Interim Commissioner of Education Dr. Diane M. DeBacker opened the June meeting with an update on the development of the Kansas Education Commission. The decision was made during the May meeting to form a commission to examine the framework for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in order to prepare Kansas for the upcoming reauthorization. Members are currently being gathered to serve on the commission. Board members offered their recommendations for the formation of the commission.
During the Citizen’s Open Forum, Doug Moeckel of the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) spoke in support of the proposal by USD 418 McPherson scheduled to be discussed during the afternoon session. Several questions and issues were brought forward in regards to implementation of the new school vending policy by both Ron Hein of the Kansas Beverage Association and David Thorp of the American Beverage Association. Tom Krebs of KASB ended the forum with a request for more studies of the vending guidelines.
Next, Pamela Coleman, KSDE Director of Teacher Education and Licensure presented the 2009–2010 Licensed Personnel Report. The annual report summarizes the professional and demographic characteristics of educational staff across Kansas. Education Consultant Mark Frehe discussed highlights from the report and offered clarification of several points.
Pamela Coleman then brought to the Board a list of modified recommendations from the Professional Development Audit Task Force stemming from prior discussion at the May meeting. The new recommendations reflect suggested changes due to perceived repetition in the original nine recommendations, which the task force has since condensed into five.
The afternoon session opened with a public hearing on special education regulations. The regulations reflect new federal regulations which give parents the power to revoke consent of a particular service or placement, as long as removal of services does not take away a child’s right to a free appropriate public education. Having no speakers from the public, the hearing came to a close. The Board adopted the amendments of the special education regulations during Wednesday’s meeting.
The Board then heard a presentation from Randy Watson, Superintendent of McPherson USD 418 on their Citizenship, College and Career Readiness (C3) system redesign. The new model McPherson hopes to implement incorporates character education with college and career preparation, working with ACT assessments in order to reach a higher level of achievement among students. Several Board members offered their support and applauded the initiative of the district staff.
Next, Susan Helbert, KSDE Assistant Director of Teacher Education and Licensure requested the Board approve two appointments. The Board voted to approve the appointment of Adam Bancroft to the Professional Standards Board, and Bradley Nicks to the Professional Practices Commission. Immediately following, Colleen Riley, KSDE Director of SES requested the Board approve five appointments to the Special Education Advisory Council. The Board voted to approve the appointment of Kathy Kersenbrock-Ostmeyer, Karen Kroh, Anita Poe Wiley, Matthew Ramsey and Bryan Wilson to the council.
Dr. Julie Ford, KSDE Director of Title Programs and Services presented a quarterly report on the Kansas Learning Network School Improvement Model. Scott Joftus of Cross & Joftus, LLC provided an overview of the Kansas Learning Network, and Dr. Connie Wehmeyer discussed survey results from districts involved in the KLN. Also, Gina Marx, implementation coach with Cross & Joftus, along with Teresa Songs, principal of Chase Middle School (Topeka Public Schools) described to the Board the benefits of the KLN and the coaches.
Closing out the first day of the meeting, KSDE Architect Gerald Charter updated the Board on the changes in the statute of school construction plans (KSA 31-150) beginning July 1, 2010, which discontinues the Department of Education and the State Board from approving plan reviews of K–12 school building projects.
Wednesday’s meeting began with Board reports and requests for future agenda items in which several Board members expressed their concerns over the vending machine policy that was passed during the May meeting. More information on the vending machine policy will be made available to the Board in the July meeting.
Dr. Tom Foster, KSDE Director of Career, Standards and Assessment Services updated the Board on bullying legislation (KSA 72-8256). Education Program Consultant Kent Reed explained the multi-tiered approach used to controlling bullying within schools and discussed the results of the 2010 Communities that Care survey.
Finally, Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis presented the Board with several options in the beginning stages of fiscal year 2012 budget planning.
The next Board meeting will be held July 13–14, 2010 in Topeka.