New school year brings new policies to Kansas schools

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A new education plan is going into effect this year, bringing with it more money for Kansas schools but also other changes.

Lawmakers passed the new law hoping it will address school achievement and accountability.

Schools are receiving 90 million more dollars this year and lawmakers want to see results.

The new plan makes school districts publish a one-page accountability report to see how schools are performing.

“Legislature invested a lot of additional money, the court was saying this is what you need to do. People are going to be watching to see what the results of that are, and so whether we have those one-page report cards, it’s going to be important that schools are transparent with what are they doing,” said Mark Tallman, Director of Advocacy and Communications at the Kansas Association of School Boards.

Director of Fiscal Services at Topeka Public Schools, Gary Menke said the new plan will help show what schools are doing.

“I think everything school districts do are measured, absolutely everything, whether it’s financial, student data, student achievement, everything we do is measured, gets a grade card,” said Menke.

The plan also focuses on how schools are spending money on potentially struggling students.

“It’s absolutely important and the kids that are at risk, typically having trouble in the classroom, more difficult to either teach, learn, some more resources have to go into that,” said Menke.

That research could increase the success rate of at-risk students.

“This provides some additional data, the really important thing is to give our local school boards and leaders and staff, the best information on what they can actually do to make a difference,” said Tallman.

Each of the next four years, a series of audits will focus on issues like at-risk education, virtual school programs, and bilingual education.

The education plan also continues a legislative task force on dyslexia in the state.

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