Everyone knew education was going to be an issue in the race for Kansas governor.
In debates and TV commercials, Republican incumbent Gov. Sam Brownback says he’s increased spending on public schools. His Democratic challenger, House Minority leader Paul Davis from Lawrence, claims Brownback has cut funding.
A Kansas school efficiency commission created by the Legislature met for the first time Friday. It was formed to find ways for schools to more efficiently use taxpayer money while improving the quality of education.
The group chose retired advertising executive and former Wichita Chamber of Commerce Chairman Sam Williams to head the commission.
"I think my opportunity is to help us get to the position where the entire state of Kansas can be comfortable with the recommendations we're going to make," says Williams.
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback was in kansas City, Kansas Tuesday for the official signing of a bill that substantially reduces the percentage rate employers are required to pay into the state's Unemployment Trust Fund.
Brownback used the occasion to tout what he called a call, growing Kansas economy.
"People have said you can't cut taxes, create a business-friendly environment and fund state government," he said, adding, "Well, yes you can, and we are."
After the ceremony, the governor also commented on several bills on or soon coming to his desk.
Work on education funding bills continues in the Kansas Statehouse. The legislation is being considered in response to a state Supreme Court ruling that said there are unconstitutional funding disparities between school districts.
Lawmakers are expected to start work this week on a solution, but committee work Monday was delayed.
Republican Sen. Ty Masterson from Andover says they're not yet in a position to begin work on a proposal.
It's not clear how lawmakers will comply with a Kansas Supreme Court ruling that says the state has created inequalities between schools districts. The ruling says lawmakers violated the Kansas Constitution by cutting funds that help equalize school district budgets.
The group that filed that lawsuit, and some lawmakers, say they believe the solution is to restore more than $100 million in education funds.
This morning, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that a lower court will deal with what it called unconstitutional inadequate funding for the state's K-12 schools.
On Friday's Up to Date, we take a look at what the 110-page ruling will mean for school funding, how the lower court might handle the the details and how all this affects this fall's race for the governor's office.
Coming out of his State of the State call for more education spending, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon brought his case to Kansas City and a younger audience with a stake in the future.
The forum was an assembly of some 700 Center High School students.
The Governor tried to break down staggering financials to something a less sophisticated economics mind would understand, telling students the system can open more than a local earnings’ future, to world-wide.
The 2014 Kansas legislative session kicks off Monday, and Gov. Sam Brownback says education is at the top of his priorities, including his recently unveiled reading initiative and instituting statewide full-day kindergarten.
"I think the public wants to see us produce high-quality products, here from government. And the core function of state government is education," Brownback said in an exclusive interview. "We put over half of our state general fund in K-12, but we need to see it produce and not just put money in. And, not ask for any results."
The Kansas Supreme Court generally issues rulings on Fridays, so many people in the Kansas Legislature were watching to see if the court would release its opinion in a controversial school finance case Friday.
The justices did not, so lawmakers are likely to start the legislative session on Monday without a decision in the case.
House Speaker Ray Merrick, a Stilwell Republican, says the case could prompt lawmakers to consider rewriting the state's school funding formula.
Kansas spends more money on education that any other item in the state budget, and education funding will likely be the dominant issue when lawmakers convene the legislative session in January.
A state court has already ordered lawmakers to spend more on education. And soon, the Kansas Supreme Court will issue its own ruling on a lawsuit that claims the state has been shortchanging public schools. All of this led lawmakers to spend two days last week studying up on school funding.
A lower court's order saying Kansas must add at least $440 million a year to funding for public schools is now in the hands of the Kansas Supreme Court. Attorneys for both sides spent more than three hours Tuesday making their arguments.
Solicitor General Stephen McAllister told the court the judicial system can declare laws unconstitutional, but it doesn’t have the authority to tell the legislature how much they must budget for education.
Children's Mercy gets out of the HMO business, Kansas Dems seek to increase school funding & a bill could override Missouri governor's authority in creating a health care exchange: A daily digest of headlines from KCUR.