Stephan Bisaha | KCUR

Stephan Bisaha

Stephan Bisaha is a former NPR Kroc Fellow. Along with producing Weekend Edition, Stephan has reported on national stories for Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as other NPR programs. He provided data analysis for an investigation into the Department of Veteran Affairs and reported on topics ranging from Emojis to mattresses.

Stephan has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and concentrated in data journalism. He currently covers education for KMUW and the Kansas News Service. 

Some Republican gubernatorial candidates are calling for the end of in-state tuition for undocumented students at public universities in Kansas.

Secretary of State Kris Kobach wants undocumented students to pay the more expensive non-resident tuition rate. Gov. Jeff Colyer expressed a similar view during a Republican forum Tuesday night hosted by KWCH and KMUW.

The Democrats running to be Kansas’ next governor brushed off the idea of a tax increase to cover the state’s needs during a Democratic forum in Wichita on Wednesday night sponsored by KMUW and KWCH.

State Sen. Laura Kelly said it’s too soon after repealing the Sam Brownback-era tax cuts to talk about a tax increase.

“We need to let the dust settle,” Kelly said. "We have no idea the full impact of that or the full impact of the federal tax cuts that have occurred."

Former Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer was clear that he doesn't support a tax increase.

Gov. Jeff Colyer was on the defense during a Republican forum sponsored by KMUW and KWCH on Tuesday night.

He was targeted by his Republican gubernatorial opponents over Kansas’ budget issues during his time with the Brownback administration.

Former state Sen. Jim Barnett was one of several candidates who attacked Colyer over the Brownback era tax cuts.

“The Brownback Colyer tax experiment brought this state to its knees,” Barnett said.

On Monday, the Kansas Supreme Court issued a ruling that effectively said the state’s public schools could open in the fall. Yet the same decision left local district officials on Tuesday and beyond with continued, long-term uncertainty.

The high court’s decision could lead to continued fighting over school funding and the topic will likely serve as political fodder in state elections.

Tuition at public universities in Kansas is going up. School officials blame the increase on rising costs and years of dwindling state funding alongside flat enrollment.

The hikes all fall below the 3.1 percent average increase for state universities across the nation last year. Still, most Kansas public universities received increases above the nation’s inflation rate of about 2 percent.

Stephan Bisaha / Kansas News Service

Tat Hidano still gets the usual questions when he’s overseas recruiting international students to Wichita State University. The big one: Where is Wichita?

But lately Hidano has been hearing another question: Will I be safe in the United States?

“The questions about safety in the United States have been dominant,” Hidano said. He says his job has begun to feel less like recruiting and more like diplomacy.

Two defendants allegedly involved in the swatting incident that led to the death of a Wichita man in December made their first appearance Wednesday in federal court.

Casey Viner, 18 and Shane Gaskill, 19, were each released on a $10,000 bond. The restrictions on the bond include not playing any online video games.

Southwest Kansas has a new accent due to the rapidly growing Latino population in the area.

New research from Kansas State University and its Kansas Speaks Project, which documents language shifts in Kansas, shows younger people in the region have started to take on the characteristics of Spanish speakers, even if they don’t speak Spanish themselves.

The three top Democratic candidates for governor debated in Wichita on Friday evening.

Laura Kelly, Carl Brewer and Josh Svaty participated at the event held in The Lux apartment building and venue space in downtown Wichita.

The candidates spent much of the debate agreeing on issues, from expanding Medicaid to supporting legalizing marijuana in Kansas.

Kansas has some of the highest education achievement standards in the country, but students are struggling to reach that high bar.

The new report from the National Center For Education Statistics standardized state proficiency assessments for math and reading in 2015. For eighth grade, Kansas had the highest benchmark for proficiency in both reading and math out of the states evaluated.

The University of Kansas is offering a three-year path to a bachelor’s degree.

The “Degree In Three” program is a partnership between KU, six school districts and three community colleges. Students will begin earning college credit in high school. They will then be able to complete an associate’s degree in one year at one of the partnering community colleges and finish their final two years at KU.

Kansas universities had about 800 more students enrolled this spring than they did last year, according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

That’s about a half percent more — essentially flat. But flat is better than the national figure, which saw enrollment across the United States drop about 1.3 percent, or about 231,000 fewer students.

Three men were charged in a federal indictment unsealed Wednesday in connection with the fake emergency call that led to the fatal police shooting of a Wichita man last December.

Tyler Barriss, 25, is accused of making the fake emergency call — often referred to as swatting — on Dec. 28. He is charged with making a hoax report to emergency services, cyberstalking, wire fraud and conspiracy.

The man accused of making a swatting call that led to a fatal police shooting in Wichita was bound over for trial following a preliminary hearing Tuesday in Sedgwick County Court.

The University of Kansas fired its athletic director on Monday.

Sheahon Zenger has led KU’s athletic department since 2011. In a letter to the KU community, Chancellor Douglas Girod said KU athletics has failed to make progress in “key areas."

The University of Kansas is being criticized for retaining former Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little at a salary of more than half a million dollars

But the arrangement is far from unusual in Kansas.

Public universities in Kansas saw some of their funding restored as part of the new state budget.

The budget restores $15 million to the Kansas Board of Regents. In fiscal year 2017, state universities spent about $570 million in state funding.  

Kansas House Minority Leader Jim Ward of Wichita suspended his campaign for governor on Wednesday.

Ward will instead focus on being re-elected to the House.

For the past school year, guns have been allowed at public colleges in Kansas.

But the concealed nature of campus carry, alongside a year with no major gun-related incidents at Kansas universities, has meant most students and faculty haven’t really noticed the guns — or a difference.

Three men were found guilty Wednesday of conspiring to blow up an apartment complex in western Kansas that housed Somali immigrants.

Attorneys for two of the Kansas men accused of plotting to bomb an apartment complex filled with Somali Muslim immigrants in Garden City argued their clients were bit players not interested in actually carrying out the plan.  

Attorneys defending three Kansas men accused of a bomb plot in Garden City are arguing there wouldn’t have been a plot without FBI manipulation.

Jim Persinger tells the story with a little frustration.

A school administrator saw school psychologists — his field — as interchangeable with counselors and social workers.

Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office

Federal prosecutors told jurors Thursday that three men charged with plotting to bomb an apartment complex and mosque in western Kansas were motivated by their hate of Muslim immigrants.

“They wanted to send the message that Muslims are not welcome here — not in Garden City, not in Kansas, not in America,” prosecutor Risa Berkower said.

Her opening statement in the Wichita trial laid out a case that only the work of federal agents stopped, the trio from carrying out a bombing the day after the Nov. 8, 2016, presidential election.

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

Students across Kansas joined their peers elsewhere in the country by walking out of school Wednesday and into the national debate over guns.

The mid-morning walkouts took them to the streets, to the Kansas Statehouse and circling around their schools to mark the one-month anniversary of the nation’s latest mass school shooting.

Many of the protests centered on 17 minutes of silence, 60 seconds for each person killed during the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

Stephan Bisaha / Kansas News Service

Students in Kansas are bearing more than two-thirds of the cost of their education at public universities in the state.

That’s a sharp increase over the last 16 years. In 2001, revenue from tuition was little more than a third of the cost of education — about 35 percent. Today it's just over 71 percent.

Nadya Faulx / Kansas News Service

Wink Hartman, who last week dropped from the Kansas governor’s race and backed Kris Kobach, said he’s offered his arena to the National Rifle Association for its upcoming national convention.

The offer looks to be more gesture than prospective deal. The Hartman Arena in Wichita suburb Park City holds 6,500, about two thirds the capacity of the venue where the NRA convention currently plans to meet in Dallas.

file photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas schools already have the freedom to arm their teachers. Gov. Jeff Colyer says now bonuses for teachers who pack weapons might be in order.

Yet the governor also said that local school districts should make the call, embracing those options that they think make the most sense to prevent school shootings.

Erica Lynn / Flickr Creative Commons

One of the most common ways for high school students to earn college credit — and, by extension, reduce the cost of college — is to pass an AP exam.

But fewer Kansas students are graduating with a passing grade on an Advanced Placement exam compared to their peers in other states.

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Alayna Nelson, a sophomore at Wichita Northwest High School, grew up hearing stories of repeated mass shootings on the news.

“Every single time this happened I always wanted to do something about it,” Nelson said.

Now, Nelson and other students in her generation are taking action against gun violence.

"I feel like I’m finally getting to the age where people will start listening to me,” she said. 

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