We continue to give our strong support to agricultural education and leadership training programs, which prepare youth for careers in agriculture and agri-business. We urge increased emphasis in marketing, agri-business, agri-science and utilization of advanced technologies.
Preparing persons for careers in agriculture and wildlife should include course work in both production agriculture and natural resource management techniques.
We support "Ag in the Classroom," and the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom. We encourage continuation of the state/private partnership for funding "Ag in the Classroom."
We support agriculture education on the farm, especially that of school classes on the farm for a day to observe the actual farming topics taught in the classroom.
We encourage all Kansans and Kansas industries to support the Kansas Agriculture and Rural Leadership (KARL) Program to develop a broad base of Kansas agricultural and rural leaders, increase knowledge, broaden perspectives, and strengthen the ability to communicate rural needs to the general population.
Opportunities to experience agriculture provide valuable educational experiences to children and adults and encourage all to celebrate, explore and care for the land and our industry. Outreach efforts to existing and developing centers should honor and promote an understanding of modern farming and ranching as well as the legacy of our industry.
We encourage all to visit and support these efforts, such as the National Agricultural Center and Hall of Fame, Boot Hill, the Deanna Rose Farmstead, Exploration Place, the Kansas State Fair and the Flint Hills Discovery Center.
Kansas Education (K-12)
Kansas schools should have a strong organizational structure, efficient staffing patterns, use of technology and budgeting. Operation of schools should provide educational opportunities in an efficient and economically feasible manner.
All schools should include:
· Quality education;
· Agriculture objectives as part of the curriculum standards;
· Agriculture-business-labor education partnerships for our schools;
· Career and technical education courses;
· Sufficient administrative personnel;
· Quality teacher certification requirements;
· Efficient use of classroom hours;
· Meaningful home and private school accreditation procedures; and
· Agriculture science and technology as part of the school curriculum.
Textbooks and other educational materials should be based on sound science and should be regularly reviewed by local Boards of Education.
Educational programs that provide training in citizenship, traditional family values, social behavior and interpersonal relations should receive increased emphasis.
We support utilization of USD facilities for the purpose of offering adult education classes. Adult students should pay for these programs.
We support methods by which qualified Kansans who are not certified teachers may obtain a license allowing them to be immediately employed in their area of expertise while pursuing a valid Kansas teaching license through the Transition to Teaching program. We support the use of content-area tests to add endorsements to current valid Kansas teacher licenses. Teacher applicants should be permitted to take online classes only from accredited educational programs as one alternative to traditional methods of licensure. Applicants should be allowed to use their classroom work under the provisional license to qualify for the student teaching component for certification. We support methods not requiring classroom work to allow recertification of retired teachers with many hours of classroom work and years of experience to help with the teacher shortage.
We support reciprocity between Kansas and other states to facilitate licensure for certified teachers transferring to Kansas from out of state.
Kansas State University
As the major industry in Kansas, agriculture must have the highest priority at Kansas State University. We urge a strong commitment by the legislature, Regents and University Administration to the land grant tradition of teaching, research and extension. We support the plan for Kansas State University to become a top 50 public research university.
We ask the legislature to assist in the focus on agriculture at Kansas State University by conducting a comprehensive study of the desirability of establishing an Institute of Agriculture at KSU.
We support the Biosecurity Research Institute (BRI) at Kansas State University. Fundamentally, such a facility should study the pathogens that threaten humans, livestock and crops, and develop intervention strategies to minimize impacts on the nation’s food supply and economy. Funding for the center and its programs should be in addition to and not jeopardize other programs and research projects beneficial to production agriculture.
We support the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility (NBAF) that will provide the nation with a safe, secure, and state-of-the-art federal laboratory to develop integrated research and response capabilities to protect the public and the nation’s agriculture industry from naturally occurring and intentionally introduced disease threats. We support adequate safeguards to protect human health and agricultural production from compromises to the NBAF due to natural disasters.
We support responsibly enhanced funding for the Kansas State University Research and Extension Service and programs that provide technical specialists, agents, facilities and equipment to deliver research information and provide instruction to the people of the county or extension district.
We support continuation of county control of programs, personnel and payroll for County Extension services.
As a means to increase support and broaden the utilization of County Extension programs, we support the option of electing the members of County Extension Councils at existing county-wide elections by the qualified electors of the various counties.
We support the continued expansion of the Grain Science and Industry Complex including the International Grains Program, the Bioprocessing and Industrial Value-Added Program, and the Bakery Science and Management Program. We ask the legislature to make an appropriation to provide the public support, and we encourage the milling and baking industry to assist with private financing for future expansion.
We support adequate funding of KSU Crop Performance tests to ensure that they provide unbiased and complete results and include not only new varieties but also are representative of the varieties being currently grown by Kansas farmers.
· Priority status for staff and facilities to support all aspects of animal and plant science research and teaching.
· Expansion of the KSU Sheep and Goat Program, including updated facilities to accommodate teaching, research and extension programs.
· Science-based research to improve efforts to protect water quality.
· Science-based research on reduction of objectionable odors produced by Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
· Continued research and development of pesticides that degrade more rapidly, are less environmentally persistent and are compatible with accepted Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices.
· Increased funding and staff resources committed to the development of new wheat varieties.
· Efforts that supplement private research for development of improved varieties of feedgrains and oilseeds.
· Efforts to enhance programming and facilities at the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture, and to qualify the College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agriculture as top 5 schools nationally.
· Expansion of the Veterinary Training Program for Rural Kansas (VTPRK).
Organization of Kansas Schools (K-12)
We support the current organizational structure of Kansas School Districts. The state should not mandate consolidation of districts but should develop incentives for districts which choose to consolidate with adjoining districts. Any consolidation effort should be the result of discussions between the Boards of Education of the affected school districts. Those discussions should include opportunities for public comment and input. No consolidation should occur without the agreement of the majority of each of the affected Boards of Education.
Where efficiencies can be achieved, we encourage districts to develop partnerships with neighboring districts.
We support a minimum of one district in each county.
We support mergers, within reasonable geographic regions, of existing area vocational-technical schools and community junior colleges, in an effort to coordinate vocational, occupational, academic and college-preparatory programs. Such consolidation is in the best interest of students and the taxpaying public. The resulting institutions should be considered an integral part of our system of higher education.
Students at colleges and universities have a right to instruction from professors and teachers who are fluent and certified as proficient in the English language.
Public School Finance (K-12)
We support funding for a quality public K-12 education program for all students in Kansas. The legislature should develop school finance legislation that minimizes reliance on the property tax for support of public elementary and secondary schools. School finance legislation should provide a multi-year plan, renewed each year. We oppose increasing local option budget authority unless approved by voters in the district. We oppose tax dollars going toward funding for non-accredited schools.
Factors including but not limited to low enrollment, correlation, transportation, and career and technical education weighting provisions should be included in the formula under any revenue mix to protect rural schools. Local option budget dollars should continue to be equalized to ensure equity among districts. Any new formula or funding mechanism should include these provisions or an equitable alternative.
We favor reduction of the state property tax levy that is now part of the school finance law.
Property tax revenues should remain in control of the USD where collected in order to provide interest income and to give local banks an opportunity to bid on and use deposits to assist with local community development.
School district finances, curriculum choices and building construction or remodeling decisions should remain under local authority.
Federally and state-mandated programs should be fully funded by the entity imposing the mandate. Under no circumstances should the amount of funding for public schools be determined by the courts.
School Board-Teacher/Employee Relations
The authority of locally elected boards of education should be recognized, supported and maintained. Decisions concerning facility and staff utilization and retention should be made locally. We oppose legislation that requires a school board to yield its authority to a mediator, an arbitrator or disinterested third party.
State Board of Education
We support the existence of a State Board of Education. The Board should be comprised of an uneven number of elected members representing approximately the same number of Unified School Districts.