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Minutes for HB2119 - Committee on K-12 Education Budget

Short Title

Creating the student empowerment act to provide an education savings account for students who are academically at-risk.

Minutes Content for Mon, Feb 8, 2021

Nick Myers gave a brief of HB2119 (Attachment 2)

Questions and comments were made by Representative Estes, Byers, Hoye


Pastor Wade Moore, Founder of Urban Preparatory Academy of Wichita, provided testimony stating that the bill would significantly improve the education of low income and at risk students as well as providing stories of some of his students. (Attachment 3)

Questions and comments were asked by Representative Williams, Penn, Estes

Joy Eakins, Former USD 259 BOE Member, provided testimony stating that her support and the positive effects the bill could bring to schools as well as provided cited data to be used for research purposes. (Attachment 4)

Questions and comments were asked by Representative Williams, Ousley, Penn

Jonathan Butcher, the Kansas Catholic Conference provided testimony for Jason Bedrick, the Kansas Catholic Conference (Attachment 5)

Questions and comments were asked by Representative Tarwater.

James Franko provided testimony stating that the bill could help foster children, low-income children, children who are bullied, or children who are unable to read at grade level. (Attachment 6)

Questions and comments were asked by Representatives Hoye, Williams, Ousley

Bob Corkins, Frontier Peace Advisors, provided testimony stating that the bill would create an education savings account for children who are academically at risk (Attachment 7)

Heidy Ramirez, Dodge City parent, provided testimony stating her life and how the bill could impact it and those in a similar situation (Attachment 8)

Elizabeth Patton, Americans for Prosperity, provided testimony estimating that the state budget will on average save over $4,000 per year for every student who takes advantage of this new program introduced in the bill.(Attachment 9)

Written Testimony

Dr. Tad Nuce, Superintendent, Zach Eckert, Regional Legislative Director, ExcelinEd in Action (Attachment 10)

Opponents oral testimony began

Megan Hemenway, parent, provided testimony stating that raising children is a collective responsibility and should not be taken lightly or decided by people from one demographic. (Attachment 11)

Questions and comments were asked by Representatives Williams

Mark Tallman, Associate Executive Director Kansas Association of School Boards, provided testimony stating concern that creating a system of educational savings accounts can cause problems, based on his understanding of the bill as introduced. (Attachment 12)

Questions and comments were asked by Representatives Williams, Johnson, Tarwater, Penn, Hoye

Mark Sinclair PhD, Advocacy Team, provided testimony stating HB2119 has no accreditation requirement at all for participating private schools or non-public programs. (Attachment 13)

Erin Gould, Member Game On for Kansas Schools, provided testimony stating that the bill is a awed, hasty attempt to solve a temporary problem, does not further the educational interests of the children of the state of Kansas, and provides public funding for private schools without imposing academic standards or accountability provisions. (Attachment 14)

Stephanie Noyes, parent, USD 345, provided testimony stating the effect that the bill would have for her family and how it will negatively affect families just like hers. (Attachment 15)

Questions and comments were asked by Representative Ousley

Charles Steffes, Board Member & Parent of USD 252, provided testimony stating that the bill will place a burden on the schools, teachers and fellow classmates as in most cases the student will be significantly behind their peers. (Attachment 16)

Kim Brown, Parent and Board Member, Piper School District, provided testimony stating that the bill is a license to break down the public-school system and replace it with an "every student/family for themselves" mentality. (Attachment 17)

Written Proponent

Berean Academcy Student Empowerment (Attachment 18)

ExcelinEdinAction (Attachment 19)

Written Opponent

Becky Plate, Board of Education, USD 491 (Attachment 20)

Deena Horst and Ben Jones, Legislative Liaisons, State Board of Education (Attachment 21)

Karl McNorton, Board Member, USD 345 (Attachment 22)

Holly & Chad Coleman, SMSD Parent (Attachment 23)

Nikolas Nartowicz, State Policy Council, Americans United for Separation of Church and State (Attachment 24)

Michael Poppa, Executive Director of the Mainstream Coalition (Attachment 25)

Joan T Gilson, Olathe Public Education Network (Attachment 26)

Dr Tonya Merrigan, Superintendent, USD 229 (Attachment 27)

Megan Peters, Chair - Education First Shawnee Mission (Attachment 28)

Greg Tice, USD 267 Renwick BOE (Attachment 29)

Megan Langford, parent (Attachment 30)

Mark Desetti, KNEA (Attachment 31)

John Allison, Superintendent (Attachment 32)

Erin Zehner, parent (Attachment 33)

Dr. Mike Fulton, Superintendent (Attachment 34)

Dr. Tiffany Anderson, Superintendent, Topeka Public Schools, USD 501 (Attachment 35)

Dr. Scott Mickelson, School Board President, Topeka Public Schools, USD 501 (Attachment 36)

Steve Nordby, Principal of Garden City High School, Herbig (Attachment 37)

Kate Doerksen, Board of Education President USD 266 (Attachment 38)

Dr. Wayne Burke, Superintendent USD 230 Spring Hill (Attachment 39)

Jerry Henn Executive Director (Attachment 40)

Ernie Claudel Legislative Liaison (Attachment 41)

James R. Schmidt Vice President of the Board of Education Geary County Schools USD 475 (Attachment 42)

Brian Leighty, Board Member Dighton USD 482 (Attachment 43)

Neutral testimony provided by

Jocelyn Gunter, Director, Office of Accounts and Reports, Dept. of Administration (Attachment 44)

Chair Williams adorned the meeting at 6:27 pm.