Celia Llopis-Jepsen

Reporter, Kansas News Service

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

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is on a six-state tour. The itinerary, unveiled on Monday, includes private school Kansas City Academy in Missouri and Johnson County Community College.

Officials at JCCC found out about the visit the same day the Education Department announced Secretary DeVos’ tour. It’s not yet clear what programs or classes she will visit.

Her agency says the multi-state tour is about highlighting innovation in education.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Lawmakers remain concerned about potential snags as Kansas wraps up years of work on migrating driver’s license records from an old mainframe computer to newer infrastructure ahead of a January launch date.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

As dozens of Kansas school districts spar with the state over funding for public education, the term “Rose standards” has emerged as arcane but critical jargon among lawyers and judges, and surfaced over and over again in court documents.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is touting a controversial multi-state voter database as a key resource in response to U.S. Department of Justice questions about Kansas’ compliance with federal voting law.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Tens of millions of dollars in extra state funding that legislators approved this spring amid pressure from an ongoing school finance lawsuit could go toward raising teacher pay.

Alberto G. / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas education officials are aiming for big improvements in academic outcomes by 2030.

State officials want a 95 percent high school graduation rate. The current rate is 86 percent. And they want even steeper gains in math and reading proficiency.

The Kansas Association of School Boards supports these goals but warns no state has achieved them, and to get there schools will need more resources.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

As the U.S. State Department is reorganized, the job Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is poised to take on could get bigger.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Congress on Monday that he plans to scrap dozens of special envoys and diplomatic positions.

The office Brownback has been tapped for – ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom – will absorb four of the offices that are being eliminated, along with their staff and nearly $2 million in resources.

PHIL CAUTHON / KHI News Service/File photo

A Democratic candidate for Kansas governor says the Brownback administration is bent on privatizing a key mental health facility.

The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services has unveiled a proposal to build a new mental hospital at Osawatomie, which a Tennessee company would run.

But Kansas House Minority Leader Jim Ward says the agency should be exploring in-house options.

"This administration has a terrible history of privatization. Whether it be child support collection, DCF, KanCare,” Ward says.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Residents of the Flint Hills on Wednesday took a fight against an oil company to Kansas energy regulators as part of their broader battle to stem wastewater disposal in the area.

They fear that a request from Quail Oil and Gas to jettison up to 5,000 barrels a day of brine near Strong City and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve brings a risk for earthquakes or contamination of local groundwater — claims that the company disputes. 

PHIL CAUTHON / KHI News Service/File photo

Staff at Kansas’ troubled Osawatomie State Hospital got a first glimpse Tuesday at a proposal to privatize it.

The staff want to know what type of therapies the mental health facility would offer if privatized, and whether it would turn people away who don’t have insurance.

The Tennessee company that wants to operate it says it would not.

But there are other questions, too, about staff pay and pensions.

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