Jul 22, 2020 5:28 PM

Jones cites local control in vote to keep school schedule the same

Posted Jul 22, 2020 5:28 PM

By NICK GOSNELL

Hutch Post

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The Kansas State Board of Education voted on Wednesday morning deadlocked 5-5 not to allow Governor Laura Kelly to delay the opening of schools until after Labor Day. Board member Ben Jones of Sterling notes that are still several hurdles for districts to start school, but he didn't want to see a one size fits all solution.

"The timeline to achieve this is much different for different districts," Jones said. "Smaller districts can do this in a quicker way as they have smaller staff and a smaller area to cover in terms of personnel."

Jones also is concerned that this would set a precedent for centralized control over the school year that he believes the board had been trying to avoid.

"We will address the closures, not statewide, but by area, where they are spiking," Jones said. "It will be different times in different places. COVID-19 is real. It is not fake. I have discussed this with survivors of COVID-19. But, I urge my colleagues, and listening to the many, many varied opinions from my district, I believe that the right thing to do is to turn down the executive order and to give local districts the time to operate within their own timelines."

It now falls to the local school boards to decide whether or not they will change their opening dates.