Stephen Koranda

Stephen is the statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio.

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Education
10:12 am
Wed May 7, 2014

KU Professor Says It May Take Some Time Before Teachers Will Feel The Effects Of Tenure Repeal

Major changes to teacher employment laws in Kansas will soon be taking effect, eliminating from state law what many people know as “tenure.”

That means administrators will be able to be fire teachers more easily.

It could be several years before we know the full effects of the changes.

Under the old rules, Kansas teachers who had been with a district fewer than three years were on probationary status, and could be let go without a reason.

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Crime and Courts
12:05 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Kansas House Rejects Death Penalty Bill

The Kansas House of Representatives.
Credit Stephen Koranda

  The Kansas House has rejected a bill that would have sped up death penalty appeals.

Some House members say they oppose the bill because they believe the courts should control the speed of the cases.

Buhler Representative Steven Becker opposes the bill because the death penalty measure has not gone through the normal process of committee review and a hearing before the full House.

"I think a bill of that magnitude needs to go through all the proper channels to make sure we all have a voice in it," Becker says. 

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Health
10:23 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Kansas Medicaid Contractors Losing Money

The three private companies contracted to manage Medicaid services through KanCare lost money in the program's first year. That's according to a report released this week.

The total losses between the companies come to more than $100 million. Representative Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, is concerned that could lead to cost increases, service reductions or the companies eventually pulling out of the program altogether.

"Will they leave?" Ward asks. "And if they do leave, what impact will that have on the people who depend on Medicaid for services?"

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Government
10:28 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Gov. Brownback Vetoes Budget; Lawmakers To Resume Session To Work On Revisions

Kansas lawmakers will resume their 2014 legislative session this week after a nearly month-long break. Stephen Koranda reports on what they still have left to do...

Lawmakers don't need to pass a full budget this year, because they passed a two-year budget last session. But they do need to finish at least a spending plan for the Kansas Department of Corrections.

That section of the state budget was vetoed by the governor because of cuts in corrections spending.

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Politics
9:57 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Bob Dole About His Grades At KU During His Kansas Tour

Former Republican Senator Bob Dole speaks while flanked by KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and Bill Lacy with the Dole Institute.
Credit Stephen Koranda

Former Republican Kansas Senator Bob Dole is in the middle of a tour through eastern Kansas to meet with friends and supporters.

Dole will wrap up the three-day trek today in Atchison and Leavenworth. Yesterday, the 90-year-old visited the University of Kansas campus and spoke at a facility named after him, the Dole Institute.

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Crime and Courts
11:36 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Memorial Held for KC Area Shooting Victims

Credit http://www.jcckc.org

About 1,300 people gathered yesterday for a memorial service at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, to remember three people killed in shootings last weekend.

Dr. William Corporon and his grandson, Reat Underwood were killed outside the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City.

Terri LaManno died at a nearby Jewish retirement complex.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was one of the speakers at the event.

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Education
12:53 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

KBOR Committee Throws Out Recommended Social Media Policy Revision

Some controversial social media rules for state university employees are getting a review from the Kansas Board of Regents. But for now, regents are standing by the main tenets of the policy.

Employees can be disciplined or fired for social media posts that violate the rules, including statements judged not to be in the best interest of a university or that interfere with a university's operation.

A Board of Regents committee on Wednesday rejected a recommendation to simply scale back the scope of the policy. Regent Fred Logan says the policy is carefully written.

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Education
10:33 am
Mon April 14, 2014

Brownback Visits Kansas Universities

Governor Sam Brownback will be visiting universities in Kansas on Monday.

Eileen Hawley, a Brownback spokesperson, says he’ll be meeting with university officials and talking about the importance of higher education in the state.

"The universities help drive the economy," Hawley says. "They provide a highly skilled work force and they create the next generations of teachers, doctors and business people so its really important for us to invest and have a good vision for higher education in Kansas. " 

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Education
10:55 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Kansas Legislature Passes Education Bill

The state Legislature narrowly backed a bill last night that would boost funding to poor school districts and eliminate tenure for teachers.

Teachers wearing red shirts looked on in protest as 63 House members - the minimum needed - voted in favor of the bill, while 57 voted against it.

Hours earlier, the Senate approved it with a 22-16 vote. It needed 21 votes to pass.

The bill now heads to Governor Sam Brownback, who has already released a statement praising it.

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Education
10:36 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Lawmakers Vote To Make It Easier To Fire Teachers

Credit Stephen Koranda

The Kansas Senate has voted to make it easier to fire teachers. 

The amendment was added to an education funding bill.

Senate President Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican, supported the proposal. She said schools should be allowed to operate like a private business, which can mostly hire and fire people at will.

"When you have a teacher that is impeding that system I believe an administrator should be able to let them go. That’s what happens in private schools,” said Wagle.

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