We recommend that you focus on funding. Legislators will take up a limited number of bills/issues this session because the most pressing bill will be the state budget for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2021. Many folks think that districts have saved a lot of money during the pandemic because of less spending on things such as transportation and utilities. However, we know districts have faced substantial increased costs for paid employee leave, COVID-19 mitigation efforts, purchasing new technology devices and more.
Some folks also may think you have received enough federal CARES Act funding to cover your needs, or that you haven’t spent it all yet so you must have enough. However, we know that is often not the case.
It is essential to explain these issues to your legislators, which is why we suggest that the single most important thing you can do to LEAD from the District is ask your district finance officer to prepare very brief and straightforward “one-pager” documents.
The documents should show what you have saved/spent this year due to COVID, what federal funds you have received and how you have spent them and your funding needs and expenses between now and June 30 and for next year. You should also explain how you were impacted by having December SEEK money supplanted by federal COVID money.
One expense that may not have hit yet is increased Unemployment Insurance (UI) reimbursements your district may have to pay for folks who have drawn UI going back to March. Another key figure to explain is the total amount of state funds your district has received over the last couple of years, which is often misunderstood.
Be sure to exchange your contact information with your legislators so that going forward they can reach out to you to ask, “is this true… what is it really like for you all?”
At the statewide level, KSBA’s 2021 Legislative Agenda
focuses on funding, but also on a few other issues including legal liability protection
for boards, districts and staff who are doing the best they can to keep our schools running during the pandemic.