Kansas legislators said Wednesday that a two-week tour of the state's public colleges and universities provided a good exchange of information ahead of their 2014 session.
Members of the House Appropriations and Senate Ways and Means committees finished the tour at two campuses of the University of Kansas in Kansas City, Kansas, and Lawrence. The fact-finding trek began October 22 and included visits to each of the state's six universities, a community college and technical school.
A group of Kansas lawmakers will begin visiting college and university campuses this week to talk budget issues. The visits come in the wake of nearly $50 million in budget cuts over two years passed by legislators.
Lawmakers have said they want to talk to university officials about efficiency and how they spend money.
Gov. Sam Brownback, who opposed the funding cuts, says he wants lawmakers to learn more about the role of higher education in Kansas and the impact of the cuts.
The Kansas Board of Education reviewed new federal rules Tuesday on food sales in schools slated to take effect next year.
The healthy snack requirements govern the kinds of food items that can be sold to students during the school day. Kansas already has requirements in place that in many cases meet or exceed the new federal rules.
Cheryl Johnson, the director of child nutrition and wellness at the Kansas Department of Education, told the board that much of the work in Kansas will be creating exemptions for certain activities, such as fundraising bake sales in schools.
The students can participate in workshops like "Polymers, Polymers Everywhere!," "Clean Air is Always in Fashion," and "The Slime is ALIVE!" The girls will also meet role models in science disciplines.
A Kansas Supreme Court Justice Eric Rosen said during a hearing Tuesday he worries about "constant litigation" if the court sides with school districts that have sued the state to increase public education funding.
A state law enacted in 2006 set the state's base funding for public schools at $4,492 per student each year, but the current base state funding is $3,838 per student, or nearly 15 percent less. In 2010, a lower court ruled that the state must boost its annual spending on public schools by at least $440 million a year. That lawsuit followed one filed in 1999.