12:45 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Kansas Session Hits Halfway Point With No School Funding Plan

Credit Stephen Koranda

Kansas Lawmakers have passed the halfway point in the 2015 session without unveiling a proposal to rewrite the state’s school funding formula. Governor Sam Brownback has proposed an overhaul, but first he says lawmakers should freeze spending and issue block grants to schools. As Stephen Koranda reports, a proposal could be coming soon.

Governor Brownback and some Republicans have been unhappy with unexpected cost increases for Kansas education. A block grant proposal would give them time to write a new plan while keeping funding steady.

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2:28 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Kansas House, Senate Approve Teacher Bargaining Bills

Credit Michael B. / Flickr

Both chambers of the Kansas Legislature approved changes yesterday to the rules for collective bargaining between school boards and teachers' unions.

The House and Senate passed separate bills that reflect a compromise that school administrators, boards, superintendents, and teachers' unions reached in January.

State law currently compels the two sides to bargain on 31 issues each negotiations cycle, in addition to pay and hours.

Critics say the policy leads to deadlocks and distractions in talks.

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1:18 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

KS House Committee Considers Removing Tuition Benefit For Undocumented Students

Kelvin Lopez urges lawmakers not to repeal the in-state tuition law for certain undocumented immigrants.
Credit Stephen Koranda

Currently, the children of illegal immigrants are allowed to pay in-state tuition at Kansas community colleges and universities - if they meet certain criteria. But some lawmakers want to change that.

A House committee took testimony Tuesday on a plan to revoke the in-state tuition, which is currently used by about 650 students in Kansas.

Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach says the current law is unfair to legal immigrants, who may not be eligible for in-state tuition.

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12:26 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Kansas Bill Penalizing Profane School Materials Moves Ahead

Credit Robert S. Digby, flickr Creative Commons

Teachers no longer would be exempt from criminal charges for showing students materials deemed to be harmful to minors under a bill given first-round approval in the Kansas Senate.

Teachers could be charged for any materials thought to be too sexual or too profane for minors.

Republican Senator Forrest Knox of Altoona said he supported the bill.

Knox says teachers should not be protected from showing materials that would draw penalties in other contexts.

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1:27 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

New Online Tool Allows Public To Comment On KS Education Standards

Credit alamosbasement, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas education officials have created an online tool to allow the public to comment about math, reading and writing standards.

The tool, called "Join the Conversation!" will be available online until Oct. 30th.

People will be able to read about the standards and make suggestions on moving a standard to another grade level, creating a new standard or rewriting a specific standard.

Kansas based its standards in part on the Common Core state standards, which have faced criticism in recent years.

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12:48 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Kansas Files Appeal Over Education Funding Ruling

The state of Kansas has filed an appeal of the ruling that found the state isn't spending enough money on its public schools.

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt announced the filing on Wednesday.

The Shawnee County District Court panel declared in its December ruling that the current funding is "inadequate from any rational perspective of the evidence."

The panel said the evidence suggests base state aid should increase to at least $4,654 per student - which would amount to about $548 million dollars per year.

10:44 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Wichita School Board Addresses $3 Million Budget Cut, Fears More Are On The Way

Credit Wichita Public Schools

  After Governor Sam Brownback’s decision to cut funding for public schools in Kansas by 1.5 percent, school districts are having to find ways to adjust their own budgets. The Wichita School Board did just that at a meeting on Monday night.

The tone was tense. Governor Brownback’s funding cuts will affect Wichita Public Schools to the tune of just over $3 million—which is less than 1 percent of its overall budget. Jim Freeman is the district’s chief financial officer. 

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5:03 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

USD 259 Reacts To Impending Funding Cuts

Credit Wichita Public Schools

Governor Sam Brownback announced on Thursday that he was cutting funding for Kansas public schools at rate of 1.5 percent. That means a reduction of $28 million in funding across the board. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports how this might affect Wichita Public Schools…

The statewide cuts will take effect on March 7.

Wichita School Board President Sheril Logan says her district must clear $3 million from their budget, and they’ll need to do it quickly.

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11:53 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Kansas Bill Would Narrow Talks Between Teachers And School Boards

Credit Vitor Garcia, flickr Creative Commons

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would narrow negotiations between school boards and teachers.

The House Education Committee conducted a hearing on the bill Wednesday. It would remove 30 issues from a list of things over which the teachers' union and school boards would be required to bargain.

That would leave only salary and work hours on the annual bargaining agenda. Both sides would have to agree beforehand to discuss benefits or other issues.

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12:14 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

KS Senate Considering Bill To Trim Education Funding

Senator Ty Masterson speaking to reporters last month.
Credit Stephen Koranda

A proposal in the Kansas Senate would cut back aid to school districts in the current fiscal year. Lawmakers passed legislation increasing one type of school funding last year in response to a court ruling. But as Stephen Koranda reports, when all the variables were finalized, the cost was more than expected.

Some Kansas lawmakers are unhappy because they thought they’d be adding about $130 million dollars, but the cost ballooned. Here’s Republican state Senator Ty Masterson speaking last month.

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