The watch word for school funding in Kansas is now block grants. But how that will work remains a mystery to educators. Gov. Sam Brownback wants to scrap the current per pupil funding formula which, he says, is complicated and inefficient. While lawmakers try to write a new formula Brownback proposes to give school districts lump sum payments over the next two fiscal years equal to about what they receive now. Across the state, that’s $3 billion in aid to local school districts.
This winter’s flu epidemic appears to have peaked, but the virus remains highly dangerous.
At a news conference Friday, Children’s Mercy Hospital pediatrician Robyn Livingston said two young patients had died of complications related to the flu. She did not provide specific patient information, citing privacy reasons.
She said, however, that flu deaths among children tend to be complicated cases.
“Most of the children that have bad outcomes have underlying medical conditions,” Livingston said.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration outlined a sweeping budget plan Friday that includes changes to Medicaid and increases in the state’s tobacco and alcohol taxes.
Budget Director Shawn Sullivan said closing a $650 million budget gap will require new tax revenue and slowed expenses in the state’s “three major cost drivers”: public schools, public employee pensions and Medicaid.
“It is time to make additional changes to both better the care coordination of 400,000-plus members in Medicaid and, second, to further bend down the cost curve in Medicaid,” Sullivan said.
A coalition of health organizations is supporting Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s call for a big increase in the state’s cigarette tax.
Brownback is proposing to raise the tax by $1.50 per pack, increasing it from 79 cents to $2.29. The governor wants to use the approximately $81 million in additional revenue to close a gaping hole in the fiscal 2016 budget.
A couple of years ago, an organization called Folk Alliance International moved its headquarters from Memphis to Kansas City. Then, last February, 3,000 musicians from around the world came to town for the Folk Alliance’s annual music conference.
Kansas City has good musicians. It’s a solid music community. But when all of those other musicians took over the Westin Crown Center, it was a shock to the system.
In his first State of the State address since being re-elected, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said Thursday night that his efforts to fight poverty and reform Medicaid have been a success and outlined a controversial second-term agenda.
When Jennifer Vaughn delivered identical twin girls at Saint Luke’s East Hospital last week, she and her husband were not that surprised – and it wasn’t just because of the sonograms or because she had dreamt of having twins even before the ultrasounds.
“My husband and I have always been fascinated with twins,” Vaughn said Thursday at the Lee’s Summit, Mo., hospital, where she was holding Brooke and Peyton Koehler, both of whom weighed less than 5 pounds at birth. “I guess it was meant to be.”
About 50 supporters of medical marijuana rallied Thursday at the Statehouse amid news that a Senate committee has scheduled informational hearings on the issue.
Sen. David Haley, a Kansas City Democrat, and Rep. Gail Finney, a Wichita Democrat, have introduced bills that would allow marijuana use to treat a range of illnesses and symptoms.
The last hearing on a medical marijuana bill in Kansas was in 2012. The briefings scheduled next week in the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee are not formal bill hearings, but Finney remains encouraged.
The University of Kansas Hospital and University of Kansas Medical Center run along State Line Road adjacent to Kansas City, Missouri's Volker neighborhood. A tight-knit few blocks, where students unwind in neighborhood bars and long-time homeowners chat while walking dogs.
The institution is growing, and like many "town and gown" situations, the expansion has created some challenges.
The number of Missourians and Kansans signing up for private health insurance in the federal marketplace has surpassed last year’s numbers, and enrollment continues at a steady clip.
Figures released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) show that nearly 76,000 Kansans and nearly 198,000 Missourians chose a health plan or re-enrolled on HealthCare.gov between the start of open enrollment on Nov. 15 and Jan. 9.
Enrollment in both states has surged about 94 percent in the last month.
Mark Mossman changed the Glenwood Arts marquee on Thursday to announce the move from the (closed) Metcalf South Mall. Plans calls for merging with Leawood Theatre to become the Glenwood Arts at 95th and Mission Road.
The matter of digital signs outside of schools and churches in Kansas City, Mo., remains stalled in a Kansas City council committee after a second week of public hearings.
A lot of schools and churches like the idea of digital signs – capable of multiple messages that are easy to change without braving frigid or blistering weather. Some also say they are more effective at communicating with parents and parishioners than the old style letter-board signs.
Experts on rural Kansas hospitals made dire predictions about their fiscal futures in a legislative hearing Wednesday that laid the groundwork for a discussion of Medicaid expansion.
Rep. Tom Sloan, chairman of the Vision 2020 Committee, said that he’s trying to start a discussion about crafting an expansion plan that addresses the needs of stakeholders and the concerns of those wary of its connections to the Affordable Care Act.
American farmers grew more corn and soybeans in 2014 than ever before, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest crop production report.
The glut has pushed grain prices to a five-year low, forcing some farmers in Midwestern states to operate on much tighter profit margins than in recent history. Some will even sell their crop for less than it cost to grow.
A trio of wind farms in central Kansas ran at nearly 50 percent capacity in 2013, which one Kansas senator says is a positive sign for the state’s young wind industry.
Sen. Marci Francisco said the relatively high capacity-factor rates for the two Smoky Hills wind farms and neighboring Post Rock wind farm mean that the area just west of Salina where they were built has particularly good wind power potential.
It’s cold outside, so now is the perfect time to curl up with a good book.
Central Standard took the opportunity to seek out some of the best books about Kansas City history. After all, even if you can't get outside to explore the city, you can still do it from the comfort of your home.
Local historian Monroe Dodd and Missouri Valley Special Collections manager Eli Paul gave us their recommendations of the best books for local history lovers, focusing on those that are a really good read.
Gov. Sam Brownback's effort to create a 50-year water plan for the state is moving into its first stages -- with selection of a panel to mull statewide conservation solutions and a series of five-member regional teams to find local ones.
Even as prospects appear bleak for Medicaid expansion in Missouri, a new report says the state would save $81 million right off the bat and $100 million annually later on if it expands the program.
The report by the Missouri Budget Project, a nonpartisan think tank in St. Louis, says the savings would come from money the state currently spends on Medicaid services provided to pregnant women, mental health patients and prisoners in need of medical care.
Missouri marijuana activist group Show-Me Cannabis is planning to push lawmakers to reform marijuana laws in the 2015 legislative session.
The group is specifically interested in creating a medical marijuana program and lifting the ban on hemp production for farmers.
Show-Me Cannabis Executive Director John Payne believes that the Republican supermajority in both chambers will be more likely to support hemp production, but a medical program shouldn't be counted out yet.
Humans have been growing hemp for centuries. Hemp-based foods have taken off recently. So have lotions and soaps that use hemp oil. There’s evidence that different compounds in cannabis could be used as medicine and hope that its chemical compounds could hold keys to treatments for Parkinson’s disease and childhood epilepsy.