Education

Christopher Sessums, flickr Creative Commons

Services for students with disabilities are among the many things Kansas education officials must solve amid the potential threat of school closures on July 1.

The state's Supreme Court ruled last month that the Legislature failed to adequately fund the state's poor public schools and gave the lawmakers until June 30 to address the issue. While many districts have cash reserves, the court's opinion said that without an acceptable state funding system, schools "will be unable to operate."

Courtesy / Wichita State University

Wichita State University is asking its faculty and staff for ways to save money and increase outside funding for their departments. The school has experienced funding cuts from the state.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW

Members of the local teachers union and some elected officials from Wichita gathered at a rally on Tuesday to urge state lawmakers to address inequities in school funding.

Teachers and parents held signs criticizing the inaction of state lawmakers. Children in purple t-shirts stood with signs reading “I need my summer program.”

The Kansas Supreme Court has threatened to close schools if legislators don’t fix education funding by June 30. But when the legislative session ended, the issue wasn’t addressed.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW

Members of the Wichita Public Schools Board of Education have adopted a calendar change approved by the local teacher's union last month.

The overall school day will be 30 minutes longer, and the school year will be 15 days shorter for students in the district.The change trims about $3 million from next year's budget.

Betty Arnold, president of the local board of education, says the new calendar was one of two options proposed to reduce costs for next year.

While most school districts in Kansas prepare for a possible shutdown at the end of the month, educators are looking for some guidance from the state Department of Education (KSDE).       

Everyone is waiting to see whether there will be a special session of the Kansas Legislature to try and fix the inequity between rich and poor districts.

If it’s not fixed by the end of the month, the state Supreme Court has said it will prohibit districts from spending or raising money.

http://kansel.org

A nonprofit in Wichita is getting help from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation for its adult education programs.

KANSEL received a $10,000 grant to support its GED prep and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) programs. KANSEL’s executive director Linda Eaves says the money will be used to support operations to run those classes.

"Those kind of dollars are very important to keep our fees low, to pay for supplies, instructors--all the components that go into operating an adult education program," she says.

Now that the Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that the Legislature failed to fix inequity, school districts must seriously plan for a possible shut down on June 30.

Here's some questions school officials and parents may be asking.

Are the schools really going to close on June 30?

el Neato / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas lawmakers will have to try again to make the school finance system equitable by June 30 or face a statewide shutdown. On Friday, the state Supreme Court struck down the latest legislation, ruling the funding formula was unconstitutional. For Wichita Public Schools, what happens next is all about timing.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

The Kansas Supreme Court has handed down its decision in the long-awaited Gannon school funding case, and it comes as no surprise to those who have followed its many twists and turns.

“This case requires us to determine whether the State has met its burden to show that recent legislation brings the State's K-12 public school funding system into compliance with Article 6 of the Kansas Constitution,” the court wrote in an opinion not attributable to any individual judge. “We hold it has not.”

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Wichita Public School teachers and other certified staff and faculty have voted to shorten the upcoming academic year and lengthen school days by 30 minutes. The change is needed in order to trim about $3 million from the district’s budget.

The United Teachers of Wichita, a teachers union, reports that out of the 4,045 votes that were cast, nearly 69 percent voted to amend Wichita Public School’s calendar.

Students will now attend 158 days next year instead of 173. Teachers will work 175 days instead of 190.

Pages