KSDE Weekly

Accountability, Accreditation and Assessments

New special education funding formula to be discussed at Kansas State Board of Education’s June meeting

New special education funding formula to be discussed at Kansas State Board of Education’s June meeting

Topeka – Members of the Kansas State Board of Education (KSBE) are expected to decide during their June meeting how most of the additional $75.5 million in special education state aid is going to be distributed to the state’s school districts.

The increase in special education funds is part of House Substitute for Senate Bill 387 that Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly signed into law on May 15. One of the requirements of the legislation is the state board of education must develop a formula by which $73 million of the new state general fund money for SPED will be allotted to Kansas’s 286 school districts after July 1.

In addition to the $65.5 million in new general state aid for special education, the funds include $7.5 million that was appropriated in 2023 and $2.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The $2.5 million in new federal funds will be distributed through the existing Categorical Aid formula.

The following are the additional requirements in SB 387 for special education funding:

  • Revision of the special education state aid statewide excess costs calculation;
  • The required calculation of school district-level excess costs;
  • The requirement that districts transfer funding attributable to special education from their local option budget (LOB) to their special education budget; and
  • The LOB attributable to the special education state aid is not counted as state aid and will not decrease the state’s future obligations for special education funding.


Also on June 11, board members are scheduled to act on the proposed literacy requirements for teacher licensure.

Elementary school educators who currently teach in the general content areas of language arts, history, government and social studies will be required by July 1, 2028, to complete either a test or training. Individuals obtaining a teaching license for the first time (pre-service) will be required to take the assessment beginning Sept. 1, 2024.

If the board approves it, this literacy licensure requirement will also be mandatory for special education teachers, school psychologists and elementary school administrators who provide services to elementary school students. The initial recommended training options will be LETRS®, Pathways to Proficient Reading and Keys to Literacy.

In lieu of completing an approved training, a current teacher can take a test reviewed and recommended by the KSDE Professional Standards Board that measures the educator’s science of reading and structured literacy knowledge.

Board members voted in May to approve the use of the new elementary literacy licensure exam for pre-service teachers as well the exam’s cut scores. Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson said the one-time cost of the test for veteran teachers (who feel they have received training on the science of reading and do not need additional professional development) will come out of federal ESSER monies. However, if someone does not pass the exam, he or she would be required to pay out of pocket if he or she wants to take the exam again. Tests will not be paid for pre-service candidates.

During their meeting on June 12, board members also expect to hear more about the timeline and mechanisms for how the second iteration of the Kansas Education Systems Accreditation, or KESA 2.0, will be structured, including the three accreditation determination areas of compliance, school improvement and student outcomes.

Officials in the KSDE Division of Learning Services also will present information about how the board-approved qualitative outcomes of individual plans of study (IPS), kindergarten readiness and social-emotional learning are integrated into KESA 2.0’s school improvement model.

The presentation of this information is leading up to the board’s July vote on the implementation of KESA 2.0.

Members of the state board will hear oral arguments on June 11 concerning a petition for a land transfer from Prairie Hills Unified School district 113 to Nemaha Central USD 115 in northeast Kansas.

Board members decided during a special Zoom meeting on May 24 they would accommodate the request made by representatives of both districts for the oral arguments. Individuals from both districts will have 30 minutes each to present their testimony during the board’s June 11 meeting. Action on Nemaha Central USD 115’s land transfer petition is on the board’s June 12 meeting agenda.

The following are a few of the other business items state board members are expected to take up during their June meeting:

  • Consideration of removal of a proposed amendment to the state regulation that would require the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for high school graduation;
  • Vote on the recommendations of a commissioner’s task force for spending the remaining ESSER III COVID-19 federal relief funds;
  • Vote on appointments to the Professional Practices Commission; and
  • Hear a report from the 2024 Kansas Teacher of the Year (KTOY) team on the lessons learned, observations made as well as the events and activities they participated in during the 2023-24 school year. 


Click here for a full agenda and board materials for the June meeting.

Posted: Jun 6, 2024,
Comments: 0,
Tags: KSBE

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