During each legislative session, updates are made to this page and include information regarding the latest legislative discussions taking place in Topeka. Contact information for Johnson County Legislators is available on the Legislative Officials link. We encourage you to review the Blue Valley School District's Legislative Positions as well. Thank you for your interest in learning more about issues facing the Blue Valley School District during the legislative session.
SENATE BILL 40
A component of Kansas Senate Bill 40 (SB 40) gives local boards of education sole authority to take actions in response to the COVID-19 state of disaster emergency related to school closures, learning modes and COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The legislation also provides that employees, students, and parents or guardians of students who are unhappy with the COVID-19 interventions in place may request a hearing.
SB 40 HEARINGS
Three Blue Valley patrons requested hearings about Blue Valley’s mask mandate. A hearing was originally scheduled for April 6 and was postponed as a result of an attendee unwilling to comply with the mask requirement after multiple requests. The hearing was rescheduled to April 7 in a virtual format.
Mask mandate stands
The new legislation found in Senate Bill 40 (SB 40) requires that Boards of Education determine the outcome of SB 40 hearings within seven days of the hearing. On April 8, the Board of Education met in a virtual open meeting to receive findings from the SB 40 hearing on Blue Valley’s mask mandate.
- During the open meeting, the Board-appointed outside hearing officer presented his report and recommendations to the Board.
- The Board, after discussion, approved the following motion: The Board of Education finds that the hearing requests are dismissed on the basis that the complainants either lack standing or the requests were not timely submitted under Senate Bill 40 and that the Board of Education maintain the mask requirement set out in the Navigating Change policy adopted on August 18, 2020, on the basis that it is narrowly tailored to respond to the state of disaster emergency and uses the least restrictive means to do so.
If the complainants are dissatisfied with the hearing decision, those individuals can file a civil action in the district court within 30 days of the decision. The court shall conduct a hearing within 72 hours after receipt and issue an order on such petition within seven days after the hearing is conducted.
Ultimately, if the court findings are not in favor of the district’s mask mandate, the district may be legally obligated to modify its COVID-19 mitigation efforts, including the elimination of the district-wide mask requirement.