TOPEKA — A Kansas Center for Economic Growth report finds Kansas’ public schools are struggling with crowded classrooms, fewer teachers and other challenges after seeing their state operational funding cut repeatedly since the recession in 2009 -- with no relief in sight because of ongoing, scheduled tax cuts that exceed revenue losses experienced during the Great Recession.

Educators are being asked to do more with less, challenging their ability to provide a quality education to Kansas kids. This threatens the state’s economic future, because a well-educated, highly skilled workforce is increasingly important to attracting jobs that pay well and create widespread prosperity.  Read more

TOPEKA (AP) — A Kansas Association of School Boards report finds the increase in children receiving free or discounted meals is tied to increasing poverty rates and is not a ploy to boost school funding.

Over the past 15 years, the number of students eligible for the meals has swelled from 33 percent to 50 percent, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

08/25/2014 7:43 PM

TOPEKA - Gov. Sam Brownback pushed back Monday against criticism that he has underfunded education or targeted teachers during his first term as he unveiled his education platform at events in Topeka and Merriam.

The governor sought to dispel a commonly repeated criticism that he has cut education funding. “We’ve got record amounts of money going into the K-12 classroom,” Brownback told a small crowd in Topeka.

His Democratic challenger, Paul Davis, told a crowd in Wichita the opposite on Saturday.

TOPEKA — The state’s largest teachers union filed a lawsuit against the state in Shawnee County on Monday, alleging that a recent school finance bill violated the Kansas Constitution’s “one-subject rule” by combining appropriations with policy.

The Kansas National Education Association’s lawsuit calls for a provision that eliminates a state mandate for due process hearings before a public school teacher can be fired to be severed from the rest of H.B. 2506, legislation meant to address a Supreme Court order for more equitable funding between districts.

WICHITA - Federal authorities have filed securities fraud charges against Kansas accusing the state of misleading investors about the financial health of its underfunded public employee pension system.

Teachers union says changes to due process unconstitutional

The state’s main teachers union filed a lawsuit Monday in Shawnee County district court against a controversial law that strips due process from teachers.

The Kansas National Education Association is challenging the constitutionality of House Bill 2506, which the Legislature passed in April and Governor Sam Brownback signed into law later that month.

TOPEKA - Kansas will face a budget shortfall of $238 million by the end of July 2016, the Legislature’s nonpartisan research staff said in a new forecast predicting that the gap will emerge a year sooner than it had anticipated.

The Legislative Research Department’s new budget forecast also showed a lower figure for the state’s cash reserves on June 30 than the cash-on-hand figure reported last month by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration — $380 million compared with nearly $435 million.

State has lower cash on hand than reported last month by Brownback administration

Kansas will face a budget shortfall of $238 million by the end of July 2016, the Legislature's nonpartisan research staff said Friday in a new forecast predicting that the gap will emerge a year sooner than it had anticipated.

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I’ve been asked to comment on an ad that Americans for Prosperity has been running in recent months touching on several topics: the total amount of spending per pupil in Kansas (over $12,000 for the past five years), the share of that money going to teacher salaries, and claims over the past decade, for every two teachers, five “non-teaching” positions have been added.  ...  What is the truth about these claims?Let’s start with some definitions.  Discussions about “dollars in the classroom” usually rely on a federal reporting definition used by all districts and states for “instruction.”  This includes salaries and benefits for teachers and (importantly) teacher aides and paraprofessionals.