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Minutes for HB2553 - Committee on K-12 Education Budget

Short Title

Allowing K-12 students to transfer to and attend school in any school district in the state.

Minutes Content for Tue, Feb 1, 2022

Chairperson Williams opened the hearing on HB 2553

Nick Myers, Revisor from the Kansas Office of Revisor of Statutes, reviewed HB 2553 bill brief with the Committee. (Attachment 98)

Oklahoma State Senator Adam Pugh provided testimony in support of HB 2553.  He noted he authored a bill in Oklahoma that is similar to HB 2553 that provided a robust public school open transfer system.  He noted that Oklahoma had a previous transfer process, but it was restricted.   He provided feedback on what he found while researching other states' open transfer processes along with highlighting the structure of Oklahoma bill, transfer process scenarios that was introduced and transfer process controls implemented. 

Senator Pugh responded to questions from the Committee.

Mike O'Neal, Kansas Policy Institute, provided testimony in support of HB 2553 and noted that the quality of our children's education should never depend on or be limited by their zip code. Families should have the choice to have their child attend a public school outside their zip code where their child has a better chance to thrive and succeed.  (Attachment 99)

Jon Lueth, Americans for Prosperity, provided testimony in support of HB 2553.  Mr. Lueth noted every student deserves access to the education that meets their unique needs. He stated that enrollment policies should allow all families to easily enroll their children in any public school of their choice. (Attachment 100)

Madi Ashour, ExcelinEd in Action, provided testimony regarding support of HB 2553.  She noted how all Kansas learners deserve access to the best educational experience we can give them and that this bill equally empowers all parents to find the best educational experience for their learners. (Attachment 101)

Mr. O'Neal responded to questions from the Committee.

Chairperson Williams noted proponent written testimony received from Brittany Jones, Kansas Family Voice.(Attachment 102)

Mark Tallman, Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB), provided testimony as an opponent of HB 2553. Mr. Tallman noted that KASB believes that the decision to enroll students who are not residents of a school district should be made by the board of education of that district.   He also noted that there has been a long-standing policy, within certain limits, to require districts to provide education not only to their children, but to the children of any other district who wish to attend. (Attachment 103)

Mr. Tallman responded to questions from the Committee. 

Dr. Cory Gibson, Valley Center School District, spoke in opposition of HB 2553. Dr. Gibson noted that the bill would hinder their ability to plan and serve the growing enrollment and needs of their students.  He was concerned with legal repercussions for all districts if they denied access.  USD 262 Board of Education has voted on two separate occasions to allow out of district open enrollment and on both occasions the board voted no per Dr. Gibson.  Taxpayers have shared their concern with him that local property taxes would increase for constructing new facilities being used to serve families who do not contribute towards those taxes.   (Attachment 104)

Written testimony in opposition of HB 2553 was received by:

Deena Horst and Ben Jones, Legislative Liaisons, Kansas State Board of Education (Attachment 105)

Lauren Tice-Miller, Director of Government Relations & Elections, Kansas National Education Association (Attachment 106)

Holly Coleman, Private Citizen (Attachment 107)

Becky Plate, Private Citizen (Attachment 108)

Rachel Jorgensen, Private Citizen (Attachment 109)

Megan Hemenway, PTA President from Shawnee Mission School District (Attachment 110)

Dr. Keith Mispagel, Superintendent, Fort Leavenworth School District (Attachment 111)

Brett White, Superintendent, Andover Public Schools (Attachment 112)

Dr. Tonya Merrigan, Superintendent, Blue Valley School District and Dr. Brent Yeager, Superintendent, Olathe Public Schools (Attachment 113)

Frank Harwood, Superintendent, Desoto School District (Attachment 114)

Mitchell Shaw, Secondary Principal, Pleasanton Public Schools (Attachment 115)

Rachel Whitaker, Private Citizen (Attachment 116)

Stephen Linkous, Chief of Staff, Kansas City Kansas Public Schools (Attachment 117)

There being no further conferees, Chairperson Williams closed the hearing on HB 2553.