Topeka, KS - The Kansas State Board of Education has rejected Gov. Laura Kelly’s executive order to push the start of school statewide until after Labor Day due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The board met Wednesday morning to discuss the order backed by a new state law that gives the board the power in such a matter.
The board voted 5-5, a tie. With no simple majority, the governor's order did not pass.
The governor expressed disapointment and said she would still ask all school districts to delay openign schools until after the Labor Day holiday.
The result of the board of education vote is that local districts across the state of Kansas can choose on their own how and when to start school for the Fall semester.
Kelly and Dr. Lee Norman, the secretary of the Kansas Department of Health, have been strong advocates for returning to school after the holiday weekend. Kelly said the delay would allow districts to be better prepared and secure more personal protective equipment.
"The additional three weeks will provide schools time to get masks, thermometers, hand sanitizer and other necessary COVID-19 mitigation supplies,” Kelly said last Wednesday in a news conference at the state Capitol. "I can't in good conscience open schools when Kansas has numerous hot spots, where cases are at an all-time high and continuing to rapidly rise. We can’t risk the lives of our teachers, administrators, custodians, our students and their parents."
Meantime, the KCK school district did not wait for the outcome of the board's meeting and voted Tuesday night to honor the governor's order and delay its school start until after Labor Day, and will then hold classes online-only for nine weeks.