Sat June 15, 2013
Top Stories Of The Week
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that kids can transfer out of unaccredited school districts. And Governor Sam Brownback welcomed more Kansas income tax cuts. Those are two of the top stories on KCUR's Saturday News Review.
Brownback signs tax cut bill in Overland Park
Governor Sam Brownback chose a construction site in Overland Park for a ceremonial signing of Kansas' second round of income tax cuts. The first one ended the tax for many businesses. Round two offers more personal income tax cuts, especially in higher brackets. It also scales back a planned sales tax reduction.
Brownback said the tax policy shows that Kansas is “open for business” with opportunities, jobs and “a passion for people to have better lives.”
Brownback wasn't happy with every aspect of the new state budget, though: for example more than $60 million in cuts to higher education over the next two years.
But the way the budget is written, Brownback can't line-item veto the higher ed cuts.
All the while, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon was traveling his state selling against an override of his veto of a similar Missouri tax bill.
Kansas Board of Education studies Common Core
The Kansas state Board of Education heard testimony on the Common Core standards for reading and math. Many teachers, like Sarah Berblinger, want to stick with the board's 2010 approval of the multi-state standards. Republican chair of the House Education Committee Kasha Kelly gave her take on why the Legislature put the Common Core adoption process on hold. She said because it isn't clear whether Common Core will achieve all its goals it makes sense to wait.
New Kansas science standards adopted
The Kansas Board did accept new multi-state – designed science standards that call for the teaching of evolution and climate change as established scientific concepts beginning in kindergarten. They are the work of education departments in 26 states and a national organization.
Almost immediately, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank not affiliated with Fordham University, proclaimed the new science standards inferior to the previous ones. The criticism was not over the teaching of evolution, which the foundation approved. The foundation report said the new standards were sketchy with respect to details and placed too little emphasis on learning established concepts.
Missouri Supreme Court upholds school transfer law
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that a 1993 law allowing students in unaccredited districts to transfer into nearby accredited ones is constitutional.
The case involved St. Louis students – and that district is now accredited again. But attorney for the plaintiff Elkin Kirstner said it could make it very hard for districts like those around unaccredited Kansas City schools to refuse to take kids.
Some court-watchers said it also makes it more likely the Kansas City district would ,have to pay the tuition for students who choose to transfer out.
Brady Deaton announces retirement as MU Chancellor
Brady Deaton MU-Columbia chancellor for the past 5 years, announced his coming retirement.
Deaton said his proudest accomplishments were faculty recruitment and retention, growth in research activity and campus diversity, What he's most likely to be remembered for is that it was on his watch that MU made the switch to the SEC.
Sprint turns back on Dish Network, Clearwire opts for Dish
The Sprint-Softbank-Dish Network-Clearwire drama continued. Softbank upped its offer for Sprint by $1.5 billion – it would then own 78 percent of Sprint – and Sprint announced it was ending discussions with rival suitor Dish Network. But Dish wins in the competition to buy Clearwire. And Dish noted that Softbank was now reducing its planned investment to shore up Sprint's future by $3 million... a peace offering to its own shareholders.