Senior Research Analyst
The 2021 Legislature passed HB 2134, which included several policy provisions and appropriations for the Kansas State Department of Education for FY 2021, FY 2022, and FY 2023.
The bill also included provisions related to “remote learning,” defined as a method of providing education in which a student regularly enrolled in a school district does not physically attend the attendance center where the student would otherwise attend in-person on a full-time basis, and the instruction is prepared, provided, and supervised by teachers and staff of such school district to replace the instruction that would have occurred in the attendance center classroom.
Virtual schools are excluded from the remote learning definition and provisions.
Remote Learning Limitations
The bill provided that school districts cannot offer or provide more than 40 school term hours of remote learning to a student, unless:
- The local board of education authorizes a student to temporarily attend school through remote learning in excess of the 40-hour limitation when such student cannot reasonably attend in person due to illness, medical condition, injury, or other extraordinary circumstance;
- The State Board of Education (State Board), due to a disaster, conditions resulting from widespread or severe property damage caused by such disaster, or another condition restricting the operation of the school, certifies the school district cannot comply with remote learning restrictions and authorizes the school district to conduct up to 240 school term hours via remote learning; or
- The State Board provides the school district with a waiver certifying widespread or severe property damage restricting the operation of the school and authorizes the school district to conduct up to 240 school term hours via remote learning.
School Finance Provisions
School districts must apply to the State Board for authorization to exceed the 40-hour remote learning limitation or for a waiver from remote learning limitations.
The bill requires students who attend a school through remote learning in excess of these limitations to be deemed remotely enrolled.
Funding for such students would be subject to “remote enrollment” provisions, defined as the number of students regularly enrolled in kindergarten and grades 1-12 in the school district who attended school through remote learning in excess of the remote learning limitations provided in the bill.
Each school district that offers remote learning must determine remote enrollment on or before June 30 of each school year. The school district must then certify remote enrollment by grade to the State Board.
The State Board is required to determine the number of remotely enrolled students by school district. Funding for such remote learning is $5,000 in remote enrollment state aid per remotely enrolled student, rather than the base state aid under the current school finance formula.
The State Board must notify school districts of the amount of remote enrollment state aid and must require each school district to return any payment over $5,000 or deduct the excess amount over $5,000 from future payments to the school district for remotely enrolled students if any overpayment is made to the district.