First-year teachers have to face so many challenges that their new career can quickly become overwhelming. One such challenge is simply preparing one’s first classroom for students, often with little to no budget for supplies and no hope of a full paycheck for a month or more after school begins. Knowing this, Erica Shook set out to find a way to alleviate any part of this stress in any manner she could. This is where the idea for the Proud Educator specialty plate was born. Representative Les Mason and Shook worked together to write and introduce HB 2071 this legislative session to create Kansas’ first “Proud Educator” specialty license plate. Through a partnership between the Kansas Educators Support Foundation and the Kansas Independent Colleges Foundation, proceeds from the sale of this plate will be used to provide grants to first-year Kansas teachers for classroom supplies and professional clothing as they begin their vitally important career.
HB 2071 was approved by the House Committee on Transportation following Shook's proponent testimony and sent on to the full House for debate. HB 2071 has had quite a journey this legislative session and is now HB 2246. Because of a disagreement about another portion of the new bill, it was sent back to committee. We are hoping that gets sorted out in the May veto session so it can be sent on to Governor Kelly to sign into law.
Information about the purchase of these plates, as well as grant application information, will be available here at that time. Design coming soon. Thank you for your patience.
Well, this project has been an unexpected journey that required much patience and sticktoitiveness. As you can see, the Proud Educator plate did not make it through the 2019 legislative session. Rep. Mason and I worked together to reintroduced it for the 2020 legislative session. I testified on its behalf in front of both the House and Senate Committees on Transportation that year. Unfortunately, COVID-19 derailed it in 2020. That brings us to the 2021 legislative session. Again, Rep. Mason and I worked together to reintroduce it. Again, I testified before the House Committee on Transportation. Again, it bounced back and forth between the House and the Senate. This time, though, it made it all the way to the Governor's desk...where it was vetoed. There is a story here; however, it is best left for another day. HB 2166, which contained the Proud Educator specialty plate, had the votes it needed, though, in both the House and the Senate to override the veto. Finally, in 2021, the Proud Educator plate became law. Now the work begins to get these on vehicles across Kansas so we can do awesome things for our educators.
Before the plate can be designed and become available for all Kansas educators, the foundation must provide a list of at least 250 people who are committed to purchasing the plate. The additional specialty plate fee will be $40, and the proceeds will go right back to Kansas educators. No money is due at this time, we just need your commitment to bring this project the rest of the way to life. Please complete the short form below so we can get to work on the design.
It's Almost Time!
It's hard to believe, but our Proud Educator speciality license plates are about to come into existence. Thanks to the financial support of our amazing sponsors--who support both teachers and this project--the state of Kansas tells me they should be ready for purchase in January! We can't wait to see them on educator vehicles all over the state, but even more importantly, we can't wait to begin issuing mini classroom grants to Kansas educators. This design was created by Kansas student Lucy Bowman, and it simply could not be more beautiful. Details soon... ~ Erica