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Education funds less than standard for high school students




Hays was the first stop on the Kansas Association of School Boards' advocacy tour.

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Hays was the first stop on the Kansas Association of School Boards' advocacy tour.

A few area school administrators and board of education members attended the Wednesday morning meeting at the USD 489 Rockwell Administration Center.

Meetings are scheduled across the state to "start (the) process of talking about what happened in the legislature," said Mark Tallman, KASB associate executive director for advocacy and communication.

Tallman led a discussion of the Kansas Supreme Court's decision on the standard to be "applied in determining adequate school finance, and the standard that was adopted by the legislature as the goals for public education in Kansas -- what we call the Rose standards."

Many people don't have a clear idea of what the Rose standards are, said Stuart Moeckel, Victoria Junior and Senior High School principal.

The Rose standards define things as a success, Tallman said.

"It's nice to see some understanding of what we're doing, (and) this is what we think they need," Stuart Moeckel said.

KASB has drawn a parallel between the Rose standards and college and career readiness funding, Ellis USD 388 Superintendent Bob Young said.

There's been "a two year push to defund college and career readiness standards," Young said.

Arts and vocational funding has decreased, and western Kansas has taken the biggest hit.

"How do you see legislature moving forward? Local funding isn't going to meet it in western Kansas even with equalization," Young said.

"(Legislative) leadership is just starting to grapple with this," Tallman said. "The only way the legislature is going to listen, is if they're hearing from their constituents."

Kansas needs to determine as a state how to measure the Rose standards, said Doug Moeckel, KASB deputy director.

That will show where the gaps are in resources, he said.

"We look at it (education) as an expense," Tallman said. "We have to look at it as an investment."

As school boards have "more power locally than they've had since 1992," some are concerned about complacency and apathy in communities, Doug Moeckel said.

"When only 1,500 show up to vote, their apathy's there," USD 489 board of education member Marty Patterson said.

"The No. 1 advocate for education in any community is the local school board," Doug Moeckel said. "The value of public education is what we have to sell."