With the 2022 legislative session nearing its end, here is a summary of education-related bills passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Laura Kelly. Legislators will return to session Mon. May 23 for possible action on Kelly vetoes and redistricting.
— Provides full funding of the Gannon legal settlement for fiscal year 2023, which starts July 1, and the first year of the Consumer Price Index adjustment in 2024. The bill also provides numerous policy changes, including open enrollment, which will require school districts to allow enrollment of non-resident students, subject to local board policies defining capacity and other criteria beginning in the 2024-25 school year.
— Enacts the Promoting Advancement in Computer Knowledge (PACK) Act. Beginning in the 2023-24 school year, the law requires high schools to offer at least one computer science course or submit a plan to do so and authorizes the State Board of Education to award grants to help teachers teach computer science.
— Contains multiple tax provisions, including several that affect schools.
— On calculation of the revenue neutral tax rate, school districts would be deemed to have not exceeded their revenue neutral rate in the event the revenue in excess of the prior year amount was solely attributable to increased revenue from the 20-mill statewide school finance levy.
— On residential property tax exemptions, the law increases the residential exemption from the 20 mill statewide school finance tax levy from $20,000 of valuation to $40,000 beginning in tax year 2022 and provides for the amount to be increased in future tax years according to the average percentage change in statewide residential real property for the preceding 10 tax years. The loss of revenue to school districts has been made up through appropriations of state general funds.
— Grants an individual income tax credit of $250 per year for public or private school teachers in Kansas equal to the taxpayer’s expenditures for school and classroom supplies during the tax year. The credit takes effect in tax year 2022.
— Appropriations bill for state agencies that includes $1 million for the Computer Science Educator Scholarship.
— Provides $1.125 billion to make up for previous underfunding of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. Of that amount, $254 million will go toward the KPERS school employer contribution that had been withheld in 2017 and 2019, and the remaining amount will go to the KPERS school unfunded liability.
— The appropriations bill for state agencies includes $1.5 million for teacher scholarships.
— Exempts businesses from certain liability claims arising from a secondary student engaged in “work-based learning program.”
— Authorizes school boards to contract with transportation network companies to transport eight or fewer people to and from school or school-related activities and transfers authority for certain postsecondary driver’s education to Kansas Department of Revenue.
— Amends state standards for free school-administered vision screenings, establishes the Kansas Children’s Vision Health and School Readiness Commission and establishes a sign language registration process.
Education-related bills vetoed by Gov. Kelly
— So-called parents bill of rights would have established rights for parents and required methods to provide parents access to classroom materials. Veto sustained.
— Prohibiting transgender females on female sports teams. Veto sustained.
— Prohibiting local governmental entities, including school boards, from requiring face masks to address a contagious disease outbreak. No attempt yet by Legislature to override.