Kansas Legislature

Stephen Koranda, File Photo

A temporary block grant system for education in Kansas is set to expire next year and lawmakers are planning to write a new school funding formula to replace it. How much money a new formula provides per student could be one of the major issues of contention.

Mark Tallman, with the Kansas Association of School Boards, says Kansas does well on most education measures, but his group is studying the states that perform even better.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW

Going into Tuesday’s primaries, most political watchers believed conservatives would lose a few seats in the Kansas House but hold their own in the state Senate.

But by the end of the night, conservative Republicans across the state took a shellacking.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

When you’re a Republican, and the governor is a Republican, and the governor has a low approval rating, running for office can be tricky. In a state Senate race in Topeka, both Republicans are trying to keep their distance.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

The Kansas Bioscience Authority will soon go on the auction block. A state panel Wednesday officially merged the KBA into the Kansas Department of Commerce, the first step in selling off the state-funded investment organization.

Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave says the agency will be taking bids to purchase the organization in the coming months. He says they’re hoping for a buyer with a connection to the state of Kansas.

Stephen Koranda

A property tax lid is going into effect in Kansas next year,  and some communities are taking action to prepare for the revenue restrictions.

 

  

Kansas legislators created the tax lid with a law that says property tax collections can’t outpace the consumer price index.

If property tax collections grow faster than the index, then either tax rates would have to go down to return that money to taxpayers or a public vote would have to be held to take in money above the cap.

Stephen Koranda, File Photo / Kansas Public Radio

The Kansas Supreme Court has set arguments for September in an ongoing lawsuit over school funding. At issue is whether the state is spending enough on schools.

Republican leaders in the Legislature call the timing of the arguments political, because they’ll take place not long before the fall election. House Speaker Ray Merrick says it’s an effort to direct attention away from retention elections for the justices.

“The timing of the scheduled arguments yet again demonstrates the court’s desperate political motivations,” Merrick says.

Gage Skidmore, flickr Creative Commons

Kansas taxpayers have been picking up the tab for state officials and legislators to fly in the state-owned executive aircraft to attend out-of-state sports events and take trips with family and friends, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Government officials appear to have no qualms about their own travel in the state's nine-passenger Raytheon King Air 350, despite Kansas' budget crunch that has led the governor to criticize schools for spending too much and lawmakers in the GOP-majority Statehouse to accuse poor people of spending welfare money on cruises.

Abigail Wilson / KMUW

To say that many educators in Kansas are fed up with state lawmakers would be an understatement. The state Legislature has been putting a tighter and tighter squeeze on public schools in recent years, and this election season, educators are trying to send legislators packing.

Christopher Sessums / flickr Creative Commons

Kansas lawmakers avoided a legal fight shutting down schools at the beginning of this month. Legislators adjusted the budget to comply with a Supreme Court ruling. But as statehouse reporter Stephen Koranda reports, there’s more legal wrangling ahead in a lawsuit over school funding.

Stephen Koranda / KPR/File photo

A batch of new laws passed by Kansas lawmakers during the last legislative session go into effect tomorrow, July 1.

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