Sam Zeff

EDUCATION REPORTER

Sam covers education for KCUR. Before joining the station in August 2014 he covered health and education for KCPT.

Sam began his career at KANU in Lawrence. He hosted Morning Edition at WHYY in Philadelphia where he also covered organized crime, politics and government corruption.

The Overland Park, Kansas native has won a National News and Documentary Emmy for investigative reporting, four Edward R. Murrow awards and four National Headliner Awards. Sam was assistant news director at the ABC station in the Twin Cities, executive producer at the NBC station in St. Louis and executive producer of special projects at the CBS stations in Minneapolis and Kansas City.

Sam was educated at the University of Kansas.

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

Kansas legislative leaders took a couple of days to try to persuade some members of the House K-12 Budget Committee to accept $75 million more in school funding, according to legislators on both sides of the aisle.

But the hardball tactics apparently failed.

J. Schafer / KPR/File photo

A proposed school funding bill in Kansas would add $75 million to the public education system, but many educators say that’s far less than they expected and may not be enough to satisfy the state Supreme Court.

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

Kansas lawmakers have waited for half the session to get a look at what will probably be the basis for a new school funding formula.

neetalparekh / flickr Creative Commons

There's mixed news for the Kansas jobs picture in the latest U.S. Department of Labor report, released Monday.

One thing is clear in the report. Kansas lost jobs this past January when compared to a year ago: 2400, to be exact, about a two-tenths of 1 percent loss.

When you compare January 2016 to this Janaury, Kansas had the seventh-worst job performance of any state.

Missouri, Nebraska and Colorado all did better. Oklahoma did worse.

However, Gov. Sam Brownback's office points to a different report, covering the previous year, calendar 2015.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The president of the Kansas Senate says a new school funding formula needs to focus on the quarter of students who are at-risk and not meeting state standards. And simply adding money to a funding formula won’t solve the problem, she says.

Sen. Susan Wagle, a Republican from Wichita, says the federal Head Start program is a good model on how to help at-risk children.

Christopher Sessums / flickr Creative Commons

A top leader in the Kansas Senate says lawmakers may ask school districts to dip into their reserve funds to help solve a looming budget deficit.

Republican Majority Leader Jim Denning, from Overland Park, says he knows taxes will have to be raised to structurally balance the state budget.

The problem, he says, is the 2018 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

He calls that a "bridge year," and says he may want school districts to use 2 percent of their reserve funds to help balance the budget.

Charles Riedel / AP

Updated at 12:46 p.m.

As expected, the Kansas Supreme Court this morning ruled that Kansas’ school funding formula is inadequate under the Kansas Constitution.

In an 83-page decision, the court gave the Legislature until June 30 to address the state’s public education financing system.

Sam Zeff / Kansas News Service

There’s been an awful lot of discussion on what Kansas’s new school funding formula will look like and whether the Legislature will still make cuts to public schools mid-year.

Nothing has been decided, which has educators in the state both a little optimistic and a little scared.

Nadya Faulx / KMUW/File photo

Kansas teachers scored a big victory today in the Statehouse.

The vote on an amendment that reinstates due process for teachers facing firing was both unexpected and contentious.

Up until 2014, all teachers in Kansas with three years experience had the right to a hearing before being dismissed.

That right was stripped as lawmakers hurried to wrap up their session three years ago.

Democratic Rep. Jerry Stogsdill from Prairie Village lead the charge for the amendment.

Sam Zeff / KCUR

The fight is raging on in Topeka over whether to roll back a law that would let almost anyone carry a concealed gun on a college campus or in a library or public hospital.

The debate has mostly been around whether guns enhance or detract from people’s safety.

Less talked about is just how much allowing guns on campuses could cost.

For one Kansas City area institution, it could run into the millions.

Most Kansas Board of Regents institutions have said they have little choice but to let people carry concealed weapons on university or community college campuses.

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