Celia Llopis-Jepsen

Celia comes to the Kansas News Service after five years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. She brings in-depth experience covering schools and education policy in Kansas as well as news at the Statehouse. In the last year she has been diving into data reporting. At the Kansas News Service she will be producing more radio, a medium she’s been yearning to return to since graduating from Columbia University with a master’s in journalism.

Celia also has a master’s degree in bilingualism studies from Stockholm University in Sweden. Before she landed in Kansas, Celia worked as a reporter for The American Lawyer in New York, translated Chinese law articles, and was a reporter and copy editor for the Taipei Times.

Ways to Connect

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

In his 26 years at Meade Unified School District 226, a 400-student district southwest of Dodge City, Superintendent Kenneth Harshberger has watched the educational landscape change.

Teachers are harder to recruit — even for elementary jobs, which were traditionally easier to fill.

“The first time I tried to hire an elementary teacher 25, 26 years ago, we had over 100 applicants,” he recalled. “Now I can’t get five applicants.”

Kansas News Service/File photo

The Kansas Supreme Court has set a schedule for the latest chapter in the seven-year lawsuit that accuses the state of underfunding public schools.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

The cost of higher education in Kansas continued to swell last week, carrying on a long-running trend in which universities rely increasingly on tuition and fees to operate.

This fall, a full-time semester at the University of Kansas will cost nearly $2,000 more than a decade earlier. The increase at Kansas State University has been similar.

Also over the last decade, the state’s spending per student at Kansas Board of Regents universities has slid.

kscourts.org

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is calling on the state Supreme Court to move quickly and sign off on a new formula for funding K-12 schools. On Monday, the court will set a calendar of hearings.

Kansas News Service/File photo

Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday signed into law the state’s new school funding formula, which increases aid to schools by $284 million within two years.

Tuition at Kansas’ six state universities will go up this fall.

The Board of Regents agreed to hikes ranging from 2.5 to 2.9 percent.

Kansas State sought 3 percent, but lowered its request when it became clear the Regents were critical of the idea.

Regent and former state lawmaker Bill Feuerborn had hoped to keep tuition flatter.

“My concern is, like I stated, we’re going to price some families out of sending their sons and daughters to college," he said.

kansasregents.org

The Kansas Board of Regents will vote Thursday on how much to hike tuition at state universities next year.

The six regent schools’ requests range between 2.5 and 3 percent, less than recent years. Wichita State University is requesting a 2.5 percent increase.

University of Kansas Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said during discussions Wednesday that the 2.5 percent increase her campus is asking for is barely above inflation.

“There was definitely a focus on making the tuition increase a modest one," she said.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

The Kansas House and Senate worked into the night Thursday on a state budget, just two days after voting to scuttle Gov. Sam Brownback’s tax policies amid a projected $900 million shortfall over the next two years.

Negotiators from both chambers launched into evening talks shortly after the House passed a multiyear spending plan that differs from the Senate’s on key points such as pay raises for state employees.

Bigstock

A school finance bill headed to Gov. Sam Brownback’s desk would expand a program that funds private school tuition through tax credits.

Kansas News Service/File photo

The Senate’s potential new formula for funding Kansas schools is based on spending at 41 districts where — according to a recent statistical analysis — students are doing well academically relative to local poverty rates.