Capitol Bureau

Kansas education funding bill helps students look to the future

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) - The governor plans to sign the school funding bill Tuesday. A piece of the bill would set aside money for students to take the ACT and WorkKeys assessments at no cost. 

At the Governor's Education Council meeting Monday, public and higher education leaders, along with business and state leaders, looked at ways to prepare students for the work force. 

"How do we create jobs for the future and people are trained for the right job here in Kansas in the future," said Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer. 

One way the state is looking at career readiness is offering students the chance to take the ACT and WorkKeys assessments for free. 

"We think both of those in combination can help low income and first generation students," explained Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson. 

It costs around $60 for a student to take the ACT.

Included in the more than $520 million school funding bill is $2.8 million for students to take one ACT test and three WorkKeys Assessments. 

"That's really what we continue to talk about is giving kids every opportunity they have, so whether it's a traditional college or whether you're looking at a vocational or work ready college," said G.A. Buie with United Schools Administrators of Kansas. 

Last year, 73 percent of Kansas high school seniors took the ACT, and while it's a requirement it's not the only evaluation tool universities look at. 

"ACT is an entrance requirement that we obviously evaluate along with other evaluation tools such as High school grade point average, how much effort did you apply in your courses before you entered the high education system," said Blake Flanders, President of the Kansas Board of Regents. 

Currently, 18 other states, including Oklahoma and Nebraska, offer ACT testing for free.

Colyer will hold a ceremonial signing of the bill at Valley Center High School in Valley Center at 12:45 p.m. Tuesday.

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