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Testimony favors Oklahoma system for classifications PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 24 November 2017 13:22

By EARL WATT

• Leader & Times

The Kansas Senate Education Committee accepted testimony in February on Senate Bill 145 which is a proposal to correct state law that will the Kansas State High School Activities Association to determine classifications on more than just student counts.

Written testimony provided  by Girard Middle School principal Randy Heatherly, he states that “Data demonstrates that private schools earn a  disproportionate percentage of state titles; private schools earn a disproportionate percentage of post-season final eight, final four and championship game opportunities when compared to public schools.”

Heatherly pointed out that private schools can reject any student they wish based on any criteria they determine while public schools must accept every students that lives within a geographic boundary.

According to Heatherly, this gives private schools the “ability for the school to focus its budget on whatever its goals may be without being required to meet state and/or federal mandates on things like special education, assessments, remedial education, ... Monies that public schools must spend on things like special education, remedial education, etc. are not budgeted for in most private schools and can be used on other purposes like scholarships, athletic budgets, additional college prep programs, etc. that are very attractive to certain students.”

While surrounding states including Oklahoma, Missouri, texas and Arkansas all have modifiers for private schools, Kansas does not.

KSHSAA leadership has stated that the fear of a lawsuit has been the reason for not offering a modifier even though 82 percent of the member schools are in favor of a modifier.

But that fear would be removed is the Kansas Legislature removes four words from the current law, “according to student attendance.”

By removing those four words, Heatherly stated that KSHSAA would no longer fear a lawsuit and a change could be offered to the members.

According to results form a survey, most Kansas schools support a modifier like the one used in Oklahoma. 

According to Heatherly’s testimony, “if a private school is ‘highly successful’ in a sport for three or four years, they would be bumped up a class. A definition of highly successful could be either a finish in the top four or top eight in a post-season competition.”

According to the survey, 82.8 percent of principals supported a modifier for selective enrollment schools, and 82.1 percent of athletic directors also supported a modifier.

The most popular choice among modifiers was the Oklahoma system.

Another chart indicated how many titles private schools have won in the past 10 years, and in Class 5A, private schools only make up 15.6 percent of the schools but won 62 percent of the championships. In the past 10 years, private schools won all 10 championships in girls soccer, girls golf, girls cross country and volleyball, or 100 percent of all championships.

Of the 170 total championships, five private schools won 105 of them while the 27 public schools split 65 titles. That’s an average of 21 titles per private school and 2.4 titles per public school.

The Senate education Committee will be revisiting the issue when the 2018 session begins.

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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