Stephen Koranda

Stephen Koranda reports on the Kansas Legislature, state government and everything else for Kansas Public Radio. He previously worked in Mississippi and Iowa, where he covered stories ranging from hurricanes to state executions. 

Stephen Koranda

Attorneys for the state say it’s up to lawmakers and the governor to decide if Kansas is spending enough money on education. They made that argument in a filing before the Kansas Supreme Court. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, at issue is whether the Kansas is spending enough to satisfy the state’s Constitution.

President Bill Clinton says there’s more connecting Americans than separating them. He delivered that message at the University of Kansas on Monday, where he accepted the Dole Leadership Prize. Clinton’s speech (at the Lied Center) focused on how to create non-partisan solutions. He said part of that is considering rival viewpoints.

“We are less religiously bigoted than we used to be, we are less homophobic than we used to be. We have one remaining bigotry, we don’t want to be around anyone who disagrees with us,” says Clinton.

Stephen Koranda

A bill before the Kansas Legislature is aimed at avoiding conflicts of interest on local school boards. But as KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, it could make nearly half of current school board members ineligible for their jobs.

To avoid conflicts of interest, the bill would bar anyone from serving on a school board if a family member works for a school district.

A bishop for the United Methodist Church is asking elected officials to allow Syrian refugees into the country. Bishop Scott Jones, of the Great Plains Conference, says 35 congregations in Kansas and Nebraska are willing to sponsor Syrian families.

The University of Kansas Student Senate has voted to support a series of demands aimed at making the campus more inclusive.

The resolution says the Student Senate supports the goals of Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk, a student group pushing for more racial equality on campus. The group's 15 demands range from permanently banning concealed weapons on campus to hiring a new director of multicultural affairs.

Katherine Rainey, with Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk, explained the demands before the Student Senate, including the call for a separate multicultural student government.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Leaders of the Student Senate at the University of Kansas made the case to keep their jobs Wednesday night, but the impeachment process is now underway. The turmoil is in response to claims of racism and discrimination at KU.

The Executive Committee of the Senate called for the president, vice president and chief of staff to resign or face possible impeachment. Student Body President Jessie Pringle told the Senate that she would stay in her post.

J. Schafer, Kansas Public Radio

The governing body that represents all University of Kansas faculty, staff and students will be considering how to respond to claims of racism and discrimination at KU. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, the University Senate Executive Committee will look at changes to make the campus more inclusive.

University of Kansas

A student group has made a series of demands in response to claims of racism and discrimination at the University of Kansas. But as KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, university officials would have trouble complying with at least one of the requests.

Students outlined the demands at a huge public meeting at KU. Some of the loudest cheers came when they said concealed weapons should be barred on campus.

Stephen Koranda

There’s been a shake-up in the Kansas House Education Committee after the Republican speaker made some changes. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, two lawmakers believe they were removed from the committee for political reasons.

A spokesperson for Kansas House Speaker Ray Merrick says the changes were made for “the best interest of the caucus and the state.”

Republican Rep. Diana Dierks doesn’t see it quite the same way.

“In other words, I was probably doing my job and wasn’t meeting with what they wanted me to do,” Dierks says.

James MK, flickr Creative Commons

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City says farm income has taken a sharp drop in the region, and that drop is affecting the state budget in Kansas.

State officials have sharply lowered forecasts for tax collections. Raney Gilliland, director of the Kansas Legislative Research Department, says the farm income drop isn’t really affecting income tax collections, but it is giving farmers less money to spend and that hurts sales tax collections.