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Under the Dome - February 12, 2013

At-risk funding, Bullying in Education Committees

The Senate Education Committee held a hearing today on Senate Bill 103 which would change the way at-risk funds are distributed to school districts.

Currently there are two sources of funds for at-risk programs. Districts receive at-risk weighting for every student on free lunch (often called "regular at-risk funding) as poverty is correlated with reduced levels of achievement. In addition there is a non-proficient at-risk weighting for students who are not on free lunch but have not scored proficient on state assessments. A student cannot generate both weightings (a free lunch student who is less than proficient on state assessments generates only the regular at-risk funding).

SB 103 would change the weightings so that free lunch students in grades K through 3 would generate at-risk funding and non-proficiency on state assessments would be used for all other students.

KNEA testified in opposition to the bill. Our position is referred to as "free lunch plus." We support continuing to use the current method of funding (all free lunch PLUS non-proficient students not eligible for free lunch). We further believe that both weightings should be the same.

No action was taken on the bill.

The House Education Committee held a hearing on House Bill 2222 dealing with bullying. Appearing as proponents were parents and their children who had experienced bullying by a teacher.

The bill changes the law on bullying policies to specify peer to peer student bullying, staff member to student bullying, and student to staff member bullying. Currently the law calls for anti-bullying policies to deal with acts that create "an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment for a student or staff member."

KNEA testified as neutral on the bill. We support the position of the proponents that bullying policies must include provisions for staff to student bullying but believe that the bill actually restricts policies to only the three patterns mentioned. We suggested that the problem is not with the current law but with the policies created in the school district.

If a district policy deals only with peer to peer student bullying, then the policy is lacking. Policies should include peer to peer student bullying, staff member to student bullying, and student to staff member bullying but also peer to peer staff bullying, supervisor to employee bullying, and parent to staff member bullying.

The Committee did not work the bill today.

The Committee plans to work HB 2221, the bill granting access to your email, mailbox, and employee events to any insurance salesman and professional development provider.

You can use the links below to contact members of the House Education Committee on these issues:

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