USD 259

Abigail Beckman / KMUW

Tensions were high leading into Wichita Public School's Board of Education meeting last night. Hundreds of unionized teachers lined the street outside of North High School wearing red t-shirts and holding signs demanding respect and better treatment from the district.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW/File photo

Last week, leaders of the local teacher's union, United Teachers of Wichita, asked members to work only the hours mandated in their contracts on Monday to show unity in the midst of stalled contract negotiations with the district. That means arriving 10 minutes before the school day starts, taking a 40-minute duty-free lunch break and leaving 10 minutes after the day ends.

Shannan Muskopf / Flickr

Recent Kansas ACT scores were higher than the national average.

More than 24,000 Kansas students took the 2016 ACT college entrance exam, which, according to a new report from the ACT, is the highest number of test-takers in the past five years.

The state’s average test score was 21.9 out of a total 36 points. In the Wichita Public Schools district, the average score was 19.7; nationally, students scored an average of 20.8 points.

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.

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.

Schools around Kansas are just a couple of weeks from opening for the new school year, but about three dozen districts say they need more state aid and have applied for extraordinary needs funding.

In all, 37 districts are asking for about $8.4 million from the state Board of Education. There is about $15 million in the pool. All districts contribute a small portion of their state aid to the pool.

Two of the biggest requests come from the two of the smaller districts in this area: Spring Hill in Johnson County and Basehor-Linwood in Leavenworth County. 

Chris, flickr Creative Commons

With the beginning of the school year a little more than a month away, Wichita’s public school district has an unusually high number of teacher vacancies.

Elementary schools in the district have the most openings at 13, followed by high schools and middle schools with 10 each. Special education programs in the district are short by 34 teachers.

Shannon Krysl, chief human resources officer with USD 259, says the number of unfilled positions is down significantly since June, when there were nearly 70 vacancies in elementary schools alone.

Larry Darling, flickr Creative Commons

Starting Monday, parents can go online to enroll their children in Wichita Public Schools using a computer, smartphone or tablet.

Returning students in USD 259 can be enrolled using an active account with the district’s web portal, ParentVUE. Enrollment forms, class schedules, information on district policies, and waivers are also available online. Parents can also pay for school meals and take care of enrollment fees through the web portal.

Wichita Public Schools

Updated: Kansas schools will be able to keep their doors open and the threat of a potential statewide shutdown is over. The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that a bill passed by lawmakers last Friday and signed by Governor Sam Brownback on Monday, fixes inequities in school funding between rich and poor districts.

Now, the court will move on to the larger question of whether the Legislature is providing adequate funding to schools, which officials say could involve hundreds of millions of dollars. A date for those arguments has not been set.

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.

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