The Kansas Association of School Boards is weighing in on proposed changes to Obamacare. In a KASB newsletter, the school board lobbying arm lists Kansas federal office holder phone numbers and encourages school advocates to tell Senate Republicans to maintain existing levels of Medicaid spending.
“It is extremely important that school leaders and education advocates stay alert to fast-
moving changes on the federal level on health care, changes that could have a big impact on our schools and students,” KASB Executive Director John Heim said.
Readers can be pardoned for wondering what Medicaid funding has to do with school policy. KASB isn’t quite clear on the topic. The newsletter notes that reductions in Medicaid could affect low-income Kansans, “including children attending Kansas schools.”
The newsletter makes no qualms bashing one side of the aisle, while absolving the other. The Senate bill, the newsletter intones, “emerged from closed door meetings of a select group of Republican senators” and may continue to be “negotiated in secret.”
School districts maintain membership in KASB using taxpayer dollars. public schools spent nearly $3 million on the lobbying efforts of the Kansas Association of School Boards. All but about 18 Kansas school districts belong to KASB. Members’ fees are based on each district’s student population, so larger districts pay bigger fees. The Olathe School District, the second largest in the state, paid more than $19,000 in membership fees and another $1,650 to the KASB legal assistance fund. The Wellsville USD 289 School District board approved its annual KASB membership fee of $8,667 in May as well as contributing $1,650 to the KASB legal assistance fund. The smallest districts and cooperatives paid a minimum of $3,200 in KASB membership fees. Contributors maintain an attorney-client privilege with KASB attorneys and legal staff.
Apparently, some of the taxpayer funding is used to lobby for things only peripherally related to schools.