Archive for Thursday, January 9, 1992

COALITION BACKS SCHOOL REFORM, TO GIVE PROPOSAL TO GOVFINNEY

January 9, 1992

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— Spokesmen for a coalition of parents, school officials and business representatives were expected to present their plan for reforming and enhancing public education in Kansas to Gov. Joan Finney late today.

Hutchinson Supt. William Hawver and Pratt educational cooperative director Jerry Hall were scheduled to lead a delegation of Kansans Involved Directly with Schools, or KIDS, that was to call on the governor at 3 p.m.

The group planned a news conference in the rotunda of the Capitol after the meeting with the governor.

The coalition is promoting what it calls a ``strategic improvement plan'' for elementary and secondary education.

Its goal is to develop a program the public understands and will support financially.

``WE CALL upon the citizenry to review our recommendations and contact local legislators and the governor to voice their support for such school improvement programs,'' the group said in a statement.

Its proposals include expanding the state's Parents as Teachers program, providing greater assistance to preschool children who are at risk of failing when they enter school, improving inservice training for teachers, providing an additional 15 days of school work annually for students who need extra instruction, and full state funding of state-mandated programs.

The cost of its proposals is $262 million in new state money. That is the down side.

``We know it will be difficult'' to sell the Legislature on the increased funding, said Hawver. ``But we feel these things are important for education and reform of education in Kansas.''

Among the larger school systems represented in the coalition are those of Wichita, Shawnee Mission, Topeka, Kansas City, Kan., Hutchinson, Dodge City, Garden City, Junction City, Hays, Salina, Lawrence, Leavenworth, Manhattan and Emporia.

LAWRENCE School Board President Mary Loveland said she and three other district representatives attended a session in Junction City in November, at which time the coalition's proposal was formulated. After being reviewed by its members in recent weeks, the final version was completed.

Loveland said she supports the coalition's proposed measures.

"I'm not enough of an optimist to presume that we will get funding for all of the school reform efforts that we would like to see," Loveland said. "But I think it's important that we constantly put those goals in front of our Legislature and our governor so they'll know that we are serious about this."

The KIDS coalition consists of educators, parents and businessmen in about 120 of the state's 304 school districts.

Hawver said the coalition knows the Legislature, which opens its 1992 session Monday, will focus attention on District Judge Terry Bullock's call for equalization of financial resources to support schools, and his implication that the state should go to a statewide property tax for schools.

``ON THE other hand,'' he added, ``we feel it is important that the governor and Legislature know where we stand on this.''

He said the coalition has not presented its plan to the state Board of Education but probably will after meeting on Thursday after its members' session with Finney.

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