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Updated on 08/23/16 at 10:00 a.m:

The Wichita Public Schools board voted on Monday to approve the budget for the next school year.

The 662 million dollar budget passed 5 to 0, with 2 board members absent.

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Some residents in Mulvane are seeking assistance from the American Red Cross after flood waters rose quickly in the area over the weekend.

Dozens of residents have contacted the Red Cross at a service center in Mulvane. Executive director Michelle Jantz says people came into the center talking about how they didn’t expect the flood to move so rapidly.

"You know, they’re just talking about their homes, and the damage that they're seeing, and the personal belongings that are destroyed," she says.

Dave Ranney, File Photo / Heartland Health Monitor

Governor Sam Brownback’s administration is pursing changes to some state employment policies. That includes modifying how Kansas agencies handle layoffs.

The proposals would change how Kansas agencies determine who gets laid off first and give agencies discretion to protect certain employees.

Rebecca Proctor, with the Kansas Organization of State Employees, says the changes would reduce the value of experience and years of service and make the process more subjective.

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Kansas artists and arts organizations won’t have the access to grant money that they have had in previous years. That’s because the National Endowment for the Arts has said that state lawmakers did not allocate enough money to qualify for the grants, which are managed by the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission.

Kansas is now ineligible for close to $800,000 in matching funds from federal and regional arts supporters.

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On a Midwest trip last week, the U.S. Agriculture Secretary offered advice to the next presidential administration.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has been on the job since 2009 and in that time his department has expanded programs for local foods and farmers markets, school meals and nutrition, and rural development. He noted that soon the agricultural sector will begin work on the next farm bill, which covers everything from crop safety nets to the food stamp program.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW

Kansas Democrats are optimistic going into the November general election that they can gain a strong hold in the state Legislature.

Deborah Shaar / KMUW

A group of health leaders from Tulsa will be in Wichita on Monday to learn about Sedgwick County’s health system. The visit is part of the Public Health Sister City program.

Wichita health leaders and elected officials visited Tulsa back in May, and now it’s Tulsa’s turn to learn about the state of health in Wichita.

Sedgwick County Commission Chairman Jim Howell says there are a lot of similarities between the two health departments, but funding levels are different. He says the Tulsa Health Department spends about twice as much on its services as Sedgwick County.

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The Sedgwick County Health Department is reporting that four local adults have contracted West Nile. They’re the first instances discovered this year.

Officials with the health department say it’s typical that Sedgwick County records its first cases of West Nile around this time of year.

Chris Steward, a health protection supervisor for Sedgwick County, says West Nile does not spread from human to human. She says people should get rid of any standing water around their homes to stop mosquitos from breeding.

neetalparekh / flickr Creative Commons

As the nation gained jobs during the month of July, Kansas lost them. At the same time, the state's unemployment rate also moved higher.

The number of jobs in Kansas fell by 5,600 in the month of July. The state labor department says most of those jobs – 4,600 – were in the private sector.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

Experts from a variety of fields gathered Wednesday at the Kansas Statehouse for a mental health symposium spurred by an Emporia hospital’s struggle last year to find a psychiatric care bed for a suicidal patient.

House Speaker Pro Tem Peggy Mast, a Republican from Emporia, said she was inspired to convene the symposium after hearing from officials at Newman Regional Health.

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