Find Bill
Find Your Legislator
Legislative Deadlines
June 12, 2024
RSS Feed Permanent URL -A +A

Minutes for SB387 - Committee on Education

Short Title

Providing for the continued enrollment of students who attend a school district of nonresidence pursuant to the school district open enrollment law.

Minutes Content for Mon, Jan 29, 2024

The Chair opened the hearing.

Staff provided an overview of the bill. (Attachment 1)

Tavis Desormiers, Superintendent, Nemaha Valley USD, gave proponent testimony saying despite being a rural community school district, tremendous growth has been experienced in the last several years in large part from the closure of small rural schools in the region. Currently, USD 115 educates 97 students who are considered "non-resident" or out of district students. For the last ten years, there has been a consistent enrollment of more than 80 non-resident students annually which causes the schools to operate at full capacity.

Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) attorneys have advised that under the current language in statute, the district may have to enter all out-of-district students into a lottery process, just like any other out-of-district student who may choose to apply for attendance under open enrollment. If that were the case, students who have attended in previous years, would have to enter the lottery system to see if they are chosen to attend again next year. This could be devastating for the student if they are not chosen and the district does not want to uproot established students. The district strongly supports this bill which would prevent that from happening.

The district's patrons passed a bond to add additional classroom space to the grade school and high school. The bond was necessary, in part, because the district is not receiving the property tax dollars of the out-of-district areas in the Local Option Budget. The landowners want their property tax dollars to flow to USD 115. (Attachment 2)

Discussion followed.

Jon Lueth, Deputy State Director, AFP Kansas, stated the this bill simplifies the process for students and families by permitting nonresident students who open enroll during the 2023-2024 school year to continue their enrollment and attendance in the school they selected until they graduate from high school, unless they are deemed to no longer be in good standing. This process strengthens a student's opportunity to succeed in the educational environment best meeting their unique needs. It is AFP's goal to ensure this policy remains preserved. (Attachment 3)

Proponent Written Only testimony was submitted by:

Jim Howard, Superintendent of Schools, North Jackson Heights Schools USD 335  (Attachment 4)

Jude Schwalbach, Senior Education Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation (Attachment 5)

Shannon Kimball, Government Relations Specialist, Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) gave neutral testimony saying the bill clarifies that students currently attending a school on an out-of-district transfer may continue their enrollment through high school graduation.

KASB feels that it would be better if the Legislature repealed the open enrollment law entirely as it interferes with school board's home rule authority and overrules decisions made by locally elected boards who serve at the pleasure of local taxpayers.

If the legislature declines to repeal the law, these amendments are suggested:

  • Clarify that school districts may deny continuing enrollment to an out-of-district student who is not in good standing.
  • Adjust the time frame for accepting nonresident students before August.
  • Clarify the student transportation section to specify whether the sending or receiving district is responsible for the transportation of the special education students. (Attachment 6)

Jim Karleskint, United School Administrators, spoke in regards to non-resident students who are not in good standing at their current district, be denied enrolling in another district following a meeting with the students parent or guardian. When a student who has received a 186-day suspension/expulsion, allow the student to attend school virtually. (Attachment 7)

The Chair closed the hearing.

Meeting was adjourned at 2:13 pm.

The next meeting will be Tuesday, January 30, 2024 at 1:30 pm in Room 144-S.