The 2019 Advocacy in Action Conference, a joint effort of the Kansas Association of School Boards and United School Administrators of Kansas is going on this week in Topeka.

“It’s not so much a question of changing our positions, as having a better sense of what are the questions, what are concerns, does that mean maybe a different approach needs to be considered,” said KASB Vice-President for Advocacy Mark Tallman. “It’s clearly early in the process.”

It’s important that members of local school boards get acquainted with their representatives and familiar with how they work, as its that grassroots advocacy that really moves the needle.

“I think we identified something like 25 percent of the Kansas House is new this year,” said Tallman. “A couple have been re-elected from previous terms. They’re all just learning about all issues, including education.”

The State of the State speech from the sitting governor, Laura Kelly, scheduled for Wednesday night, sets off a flurry of activity in that learning process.

“What the Governor proposes is the blueprint that everyone starts from,” said Tallman. “Literally, the amendments that the Legislature makes is, they’re adding to or taking away from what the Governor puts out there.”

The Governor’s proposal will be unveiled Thursday before a joint meeting of the House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means committees after being outlined in broad strokes in the State of the State speech. Legislative Research and the revisors then typically take a couple of weeks to digest the different adjustments legislators would like to have considered before formal budget hearings are held for individual sections of the budget.