Government

Stephen Koranda

Updated June 27, 2016: Gov. Sam Brownback signed Substitute for House Bill 2001, which aims to satisfy a mandate from the Kansas Supreme Court to correct inequities in school funding. The bill increases state funding for poor districts by $38 million for the 2016-17 school year by diverting funds from other parts of the budget as well as redistributes funds from wealthier districts. Brownback says that signing the bill ensures that Kansas schools will remain open.

“I appreciate the hard work of legislators which began prior to the start of the session in a series of meetings," Brownback said in a press release. "The effort to bring together legislators, educators and attorneys resulted in a bill supported by all parties and a stipulation by plaintiff’s attorney that House Bill 2001 satisfies the equity portion of this litigation."

Brownback also congratulated House Speaker Ray Merrick and Senate President Susan Wagle for "an efficient and focused special session."

wichita.hyatt.com

The City of Wichita is considering two "offers to purchase" the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown. The hotel has been owned by the city for about 15 years.

The city put out a request for proposals in April seeking qualified offers to purchase the Hyatt Regency Hotel and Convention Center, which is along the Arkasas River on Waterman Street.

Chris, flickr Creative Commons

A new plan to fund public schools got a big boost today when some districts that stand to lose money said they would support the proposal.

Several wealthy districts in Johnson County will lose overall funding, which will go to assist poorer school districts. Todd White, superintendent of Blue Valley Schools, says they’re willing to compromise and accept the bill in order to keep schools from closing.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas Public Radio/File Photo

A school funding plan has been making fast progress in the Kansas Legislature, passing out of both House and Senate committees today.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

The Kansas budget director says the state may take additional highway funds and delay a school payment to balance the budget for the current year. June is the last month of the fiscal year, and Budget Director Shawn Sullivan says tax collections could come up short.

Sullivan says Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration could take $16 million in highway funds and up to $45 million in Medicaid fee funds to help cover a budget shortfall.

Jim McClean / Heartland Health Monitor

The chairman of the Kansas Senate’s budget committee says lawmakers have a preliminary school funding plan. Legislators return to Topeka today for a special session. As Stephen Koranda reports, they’ll respond to a state Supreme Court ruling that says there are unconstitutional disparities in the school funding system.

Republican Sen. Ty Masterson didn’t release many details, but he says the plan would shift $38 million into a certain type of Kansas school funding that reduces disparities among districts.

A special session focused on solving Kansas' nettlesome school funding problem begins Thursday. At stake: school itself. The Kansas Supreme Court has threatened a statewide shutdown of schools if lawmakers don't make funding more equitable before June 30.

It's not an overstatement, then, to say most Kansans will be impacted by what happens in Topeka over the next few days. 

kslegislature.org

As Kansas legislators prepared to head back to Topeka for a special session, KMUW's Aileen LeBlanc sat down with two local lawmakers to talk about the subject of the session: school funding.   

KPTS

The Sedgwick County Commission tabled a resolution Wednesday that would have asked the state to withhold benefits from undocumented immigrants, saving resources for lawful citizens of the county.

The resolution asked for the state to revise a law that allows undocumented immigrants to get in-state tuition at state colleges and universities if they have gone to school in Kansas for three years and have pursued a path to legal status.

Stephen Koranda File Photo

The Kansas Supreme Court is giving Gov. Sam Brownback until July 11 to tell the court why it shouldn't force him to fill a vacant district magistrate position.

The court on Tuesday ordered the governor to explain why he didn't make the appointment in 90 days, as required by state law.

Three 26th District judges filed a petition with the court last week after Brownback announced he would wait until after the August primaries to consider filling the vacancy, which was created when Judge Tommy Webb of Haskell County announced his retirement in February.

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