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Legislative meeting on school issues lacks input from Kansas Department of Education
Topeka — The Special Committee on Education met for two days and heard hours of testimony on school funding and student achievement, but not one word from anyone with the Kansas Department of Education.
"I find it odd that we have a Department of Education that doesn't have the time to speak with us," said Rep. Marvin Kleeb, R-Overland Park.
Chairwoman Kasha Kelley, R-Arkansas City, said she invited Education Department officials to testify to the committee and was disappointed no one took her up on the invitation.
Instead, the committee heard from representatives of the Kansas Policy Institute, the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, the Kansas Association of School Boards, and legislative staff.
State Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker said she and other top administrators had scheduling conflicts that prevented them from talking to the committee. "All of our schedules were full," she said. DeBacker said Education Department officials received their invitation late last week to talk to the committee, which met Wednesday and Thursday.
But DeBacker said the Education Department's annual convention was held Monday through Wednesday in Wichita. Also on Wednesday was a meeting of the Council of Superintendents in Salina. And on Thursday, Education Department officials were in Eudora for a Teacher of the Year function.