State Board of Ed offering tech ed options

10/17/2013

TOPEKA (AP) — State education officials are offering two plans for Kansas legislators to consider that would increase state funding for career and technical education programs.

TOPEKA (AP) — State education officials are offering two plans for Kansas legislators to consider that would increase state funding for career and technical education programs.

The plans, depending on which formula legislators adopt, would increase education spending for the state's 286 school districts by between $9 million and $12 million.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that Deputy Education Commissioner Dale Dennis said Tuesday that the figures were determined after surveying all districts about the costs of providing the classes.

Legislators asked education officials in 2011 to come up with a funding mechanism for the programs that recognizes that some courses are more expensive than others, such as automotive or welding.

Schools currently receive funding for career and technical programs, previously known as vocational education, based on a formula that counts each student enrolled in the programs as 1.5 students. That means districts receive funding equal to 1.5 times the base state aid per student for those enrolled in career and technical programs.

Dennis said the actual cost of adopting either new funding proposal would be higher than his estimates because they were based on 2011 funding levels.

The 2011 changes to technical education programs were aimed at providing students with necessary skills to enter the job market after graduation.

Kansas divides the new programs into 16 clusters of courses based on industry groupings and the skills that are involved. Some of the clusters taught in schools include agriculture, business management and administration, health sciences and manufacturing.

The state also has started a program where students can enroll in the clusters and work toward industry certification through enrollment at a state technical college while still in high school. The funding proposals to be offered by Dennis in January apply only to programs school districts offer in their schools.

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