Highlights of the July State Board of Education Meeting
TOPEKA—July 14, 2010—The Kansas State Board of Education met July 13–14, 2010, in the boardroom at the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE). All Board members were present with the exception of Ken Willard.
After a short executive session in which no action was taken, Interim Commissioner of Education Dr. Diane M. DeBacker opened the July meeting with a brief summary of the first meeting of the Kansas Education Commission held on July 6, 2010. In May, the Board made the decision to form a commission in order to examine the framework for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The commission is divided into five subcommittees which address the areas outlined in the reauthorization; College- and Career-Ready Students, Great Teachers and Leaders in Every School, Equity and Opportunity for all Students, Raise the Bar and Reward Excellence, and Promote Innovation and Continuous Improvement. The next meeting of the Kansas Education Commission will be August 30, 2010.
During the Citizen’s Open Forum, the vending guidelines of the Wellness Policy adopted in May were both criticized and praised. Steve Coen, Chair of the Governor’s Council on Fitness, began the Open Forum by offering his support of the Board’s decision. Rod Bremby, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, stated his support of the guideline implementation as well. Dr. Rick Werling, Superintendent of USD 234 Fort Scott, also praised the decision as it promotes healthy habits. In addition, Peg Dunlap of the Kansas National Education Association (KNEA) offered her support of the guidelines while voicing the concerns of teachers regarding vending machines in teachers’ lounges. Conversely, Joe Hemmelgarn and Gordon Long, both of Wichita Vending, proposed a revision to the guidelines allowing for beverages containing one calorie per ounce to be offered in schools. Closing the Open Forum, Ron Hein of the Kansas Beverage Association discussed the various restrictions of the vending guidelines and suggested it be revised.
Next, Dr. Tom Foster, KSDE Director of Career, Standards & Assessment Services, updated the Board on the progress of the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics. On June 2, 2010, the final document was released by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governor’s Association (NGA). Kansas has since been reviewing the standards, processing feedback, and preparing additions to the standards in order to meet current Kansas standards. The Common Core Standards for Kansas are scheduled to be brought to the Board in September with possible adoption as early as October.
After lunch, the Board moved to approve the recommendations of the Professional Practices Commission, accepting the decision to revoke professional educator’s licenses from Nina R. Urban, Scott A. Neil, Ashley N. Evenson and Jeb A. Clements. Immediately following, the Board voted and accepted the surrender and revoke of the professional educator’s license issued to Kevin A. Vincent. Finally, the Board approved the Act on Transfer of Territory from USD 336 (Holton) to USD 337 (Royal Valley).
Kathy Gosa, KSDE Director of Information Technology, presented an overview of the statewide longitudinal data system (SLDS) IES ARRA grant, “Unifying Data Systems to Support Systemic Change in Education.” The $9.1 million grant will address 12 initiatives to provide resources needed to create a longitudinal data system within the next three years. This system will combine current data systems in place by the Department of Education (K-12) with the Board of Regents (post-secondary) and the Department of Labor in order to track student progress from early childhood into the workforce.
Later, Deputy Commissioner Dale Dennis brought to the Board Fiscal Year 2012 budget recommendations and options. The Board moved to set the FY 2012 budget according to current law. In addition, the Board agreed to fund Agriculture in the Classroom, Communities in Schools, Environmental Education and the Kansas Historical Society each for $35,000, and to fund the after school programs ($375,000), middle school after school programs ($250,000) and Kansas Teacher of the Year ($10,000) discretionary grants.
Next, the Board agreed to adopt a resolution that would encourage the Governor to issue an Executive Order allowing the Kansas State School for the Blind to provide adult services if selected by the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) through the SRS Capacity Building Grant.
The second day of the meeting closed with an executive session in which no action was taken. The next Board meeting will be held August 10–11, 2010 in Topeka.