Education

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio

A new report from the Kansas Association of School Boards says Kansas ranks well nationally in many education categories, but it also includes some signs that Kansas may be lagging.

The report places Kansas 10th overall nationwide when comparing states on test scores, high school graduation rates and the number of students that go on to college. However, the report says Kansas has slipped in some areas, such as test scores.

Mark Tallman, with the KASB, says the information is an “early warning” that Kansas needs to take steps to remain competitive.

Universities in Kansas have been taking steps to absorb state funding cuts. As Stephen Koranda reports, the University of Kansas and Kansas State University are adopting different approaches.

KU announced this week that there would be positions left unfilled and targeted budget cuts, including some significant reductions to certain programs. At K-State, the strategy is a little different: Spokesperson Jeff Morris says K-State officials gave all departments an equal cut of just under 4 percent.

J. Schafer, Kansas Public Radio

Leaders at the University of Kansas have been working on ways to absorb more than $10 million in state budget cuts. On Wednesday, the Lawrence campus announced more than $1 million in targeted spending reductions. KU Provost Neeli Bendapudi says the goal was to avoid staff reductions and minimize the impact on students.

“It’s obviously not an easy thing to do, but we tried to look at everything that we could do to keep the core academic function of the university as protected as possible,” Bendapudi says.

GLMV/wichita.edu

A private developer plans to build a student apartment complex on Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus.

MWCB LLC will finance and build the new facility, which will include 112 apartment units for graduate and undergraduate students who are at least in their sophomore year. WSU staff and employees who work for companies on the Innovation Campus can also live in the building.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW/File photo

Updated on 08/23/16 at 10:00 a.m:

The Wichita Public Schools board voted on Monday to approve the budget for the next school year.

The 662 million dollar budget passed 5 to 0, with 2 board members absent.

Julia Szabo / KCUR/File photo

The number of teachers leaving Kansas or simply quitting the profession has dramatically increased over the last four years.

The annual Licensed Personnel Report was released Tuesday by the Kansas Department of Education. While it was provided to the Board of Education meeting in Topeka, the report was buried in board documents and not addressed by either staff or the board.

The report shows that 1,075 teachers left the profession last year, up from 669 four years ago. That's a 61 percent increase.

The Kansas Board of Education is creating a group to study the teacher shortage that's affecting parts of Kansas. As Stephen Koranda reports, the group will recommend ways to make the job more attractive and keep teachers from leaving the career.

The new committee will look at issues like why fewer people are becoming teachers in Kansas and what they can do to reverse that trend.

“This ship will not be turned around in a day, but we have to start the process of turning the ship,” says Board of Education Chairman Jim McNiece.

Alex Starr, flickr Creative Commons

A final vote on the proposed budget for Wichita Public Schools has been scheduled for Aug. 22. Members of the local school board looked over the budget at a meeting on Monday night.

The plan, which totals nearly $662 million, cuts certain expenses by about $22 million to account for the increased costs for healthcare, transportation and utilities.

wichita.edu

Some nursing students at Wichita State University are getting help paying for their education in exchange for setting up a practice in an under-served area of Kansas.

Wichita State’s School of Nursing received a $348,267 dollar federal grant to help get more primary care nurse practitioners into practice.

Alicia Huckstadt, professor and director of graduate program in the WSU School of Nursing, says the grant will pay for 16 students for the entire year beginning this fall.

The Kansas Board of Education has approved more than $7 million in additional funding for 34 school districts, but there’s a catch. As Stephen Koranda reports, the money might never materialize.

The block grant funding system in Kansas doesn’t take into account things like student enrollment growth, but it lets officials like Basehor-Linwood Superintendent David Howard ask for more money to cover new students.

“This isn’t just teachers. We’re actually having to add bus routes and equip new classrooms. That’s part of that total request,” Howard said.

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