Schools and education

Kansas House advances GOP school funding plan
08:38 a.m., March 12, 2015 Updated 10:56 p.m.
After several days of intense arm-twisting, Republican leaders in the Kansas House mustered enough votes Thursday to advance a bill that makes sweeping changes to the way the state funds its public schools. The Lawrence school district stands to lose about $1.6 million in state funding under the plan. A final vote is expected Friday. By Peter Hancock
Kansas House panel approves GOP leaders’ school funding plan; bill now goes to full House
01:16 p.m., March 10, 2015 Updated 10:39 p.m.
The House Appropriations Committee advanced a bill Tuesday that repeals the 1992 school finance formula and replaces it for two years with block grants to the state’s 286 school districts. Democrats and moderate Republicans are objecting to efforts by GOP leaders to rush the bill to passage. And leaders still are not certain if it has enough support to pass. By Peter Hancock
GOP plan to overhaul Kansas school aid could move quickly
March 10, 2015
The chief financial officer in Kansas’ largest school district is urging legislators to give more consideration to a plan from Republican leaders to overhaul how the state distributes aid to public schools and prevent unexpected budget surprises.
School board approves tax deal for Eldridge expansion
05:29 p.m., March 9, 2015 Updated 08:30 p.m.
The Lawrence school board unanimously approved a 15-year, 95 percent tax abatement for an expansion of the Eldridge Hotel.
Adult Education Center enrolling for upcoming class
05:13 p.m., March 9, 2015 Updated 08:23 p.m.
Adults interested in pursuing their GED or improving basic skills in math, science, social studies and English can enroll in an upcoming class at the Lawrence Adult Education Center.
City Commission, school board primary has 13.8 percent voter turnout
March 9, 2015
The primary elections for the Lawrence City Commission and Lawrence school board saw a turnout of 13.8 percent, according to official results from Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew.
Kansas Chamber backs GOP schools bill; educators opposed
02:01 p.m., March 9, 2015 Updated 08:28 p.m.
Kansas lawmakers began debating a bill Monday that calls for the most sweeping changes since 1992 in the way Kansas funds its public schools, with plans for both chambers to vote on the bill later this week.
Managing Editor: Raintree students create comic strip
March 7, 2015
Last spring I was contacted by two aspiring comic strip authors at Raintree Montessori School. Ryan Malloy, then in fifth grade, and Kaleigh Merrill, in fourth grade, called and wanted to know what all went in to getting a new comic published.
Lawrence teachers wary of bill holding them criminally liable for harmful material
05:50 p.m., March 6, 2015 Updated 10:44 p.m.
A bill passed by the Kansas Senate that would hold teachers criminally responsible for exposing students to sexually inappropriate material has many people in Lawrence feeling uneasy.
Additional forums scheduled for school board, City Commission candidates
05:23 p.m., March 6, 2015 Updated 10:53 p.m.
Two more forums for the Lawrence school board and City Commission races have been announced.
Lawrence school board will vote on Eldridge tax abatement
03:48 p.m., March 6, 2015 Updated 10:44 p.m.
The Lawrence school board will vote on whether to give a 15-year, 95 percent tax abatement to the Eldridge Hotel for an expansion project at its Monday meeting.
Lawrence schools face cuts this year under GOP plan
01:40 p.m., March 6, 2015 Updated 10:46 p.m.
Lawrence school district Superintendent Rick Doll said Friday that the district would probably have to dip into reserve funds for the rest of this year to absorb a $1.6 million cut in state funding that would result from a new school finance system being proposed by Republican leaders in the Kansas Legislature. “They’ve said that’s what they want us to do, but it’ll make it tight for us,” Doll said.
Free State High School student earns perfect 36 on ACT
10:40 a.m., March 6, 2015 Updated 10:41 p.m.
Free State High School junior Liying Liu earned a perfect score of 36 on her ACT exam.
School board conflict of interest bill going nowhere, chairman says
05:36 p.m., March 5, 2015 Updated 10:26 p.m.
A bill that would ban anyone with family ties to public schools or government contracting from serving on a school board was heard in the House Education Committee Thursday. But the committee chairman says it is unlikely to go any further this session. By Peter Hancock
Deerfield Elementary, West Middle School instructors named Teachers of the Year
04:03 p.m., March 4, 2015 Updated 10:46 p.m.
Lawrence school district teachers typically spend part of the afternoon on early-release days together for collaboration sessions. But on Wednesday, the faculties at Deerfield Elementary and West Middle School were interrupted by district officials who came to hand out Teachers of the Year honors.
Loveland, Harmon win school board primary, will face off in April 7 general election
March 3, 2015
Mary Loveland and Marcel Harmon, the two candidates with experience serving on the Lawrence school board, beat out their two other opponents in Tuesday’s primary election for a two-year term on the district’s governing body.
2015 primary election results: Soden, Rasmussen, Boley, Riordan, Herbert, Schumm moving onto April general election
Loveland, Harmon advance in school board race
07:00 p.m., March 3, 2015 Updated 08:47 p.m.
Lawrence voters showed up at the polls Tuesday to narrow down a full field of candidates for Lawrence City Commission and school board seats. Follow along with updated results.
Kansas Supreme Court deciding whether to take school finance appeal
March 3, 2015
A three-judge district court panel has postponed a hearing in the school finance lawsuit while the Kansas Supreme Court decides whether to take up an immediate appeal in the case. Meanwhile, the Shawnee Mission school district has filed a motion to intervene in the case. By Peter Hancock
Vote in today’s primary elections! 9 percent turnout reported at 3 p.m.
01:27 p.m., March 3, 2015 Updated 04:45 p.m.
About 9 percent of registered voters had cast ballots in the local primary election as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Douglas County Clerk Jameson Shew. The Lawrence City Commission primary and the USD 497 school board primary drew 4,584 of 63,952 registered voters to the polls as of 3 p.m. Another 925 had cast advance ballots. Polls close at 7 p.m.
After-school health and fitness program at Liberty Memorial continues to grow
March 3, 2015
When Michel Loomis, then a teacher at Liberty Memorial Central Middle School, co-founded a physical fitness after-school program in 2009, all it had to work with was a big gym.
Kansas Supreme Court sets deadline for school finance motions
09:48 p.m., March 2, 2015 Updated 10:19 p.m.
Plaintiffs in the ongoing school finance lawsuit have until 5 p.m. Tuesday to file a motion stating whether they want the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of the latest lower court order, or if they want the case to stay in the hands of a three-judge panel which has been asked to reconsider its last decision. By Peter Hancock
District, teachers begin negotiations for 2015-16 school year
08:51 p.m., March 2, 2015 Updated 10:19 p.m.
Teams for the Lawrence school district and the local teachers union met Monday to begin negotiations for teacher contracts for the 2015-16 school year.
Veritas Christian School Honor Roll
March 2, 2015
Veritas Christian School has announced its first semester Honor Roll for the 2014-2015 school year.
Kansas school funding plan aimed at ending budget surprises
March 1, 2015
Top Republican officials in Kansas who hope to eliminate a budget deficit while sustaining personal income tax cuts are working on a plan to overhaul the state’s system for funding public schools in a way that would prevent unanticipated demands for new spending.
Free State High School ready to return to international robotics competition
05:19 p.m., February 27, 2015 Updated 10:38 p.m.
Two students helped rebuild Free State High School’s robotics program, which was dormant for several years. The club now has about 20 active members and is ready to return to the FIRST Robotics Competition, a prestigious tournament.
Kansas House, Senate pass teacher collective bargaining compromise
11:26 a.m., February 26, 2015 Updated 11:01 p.m.
The Kansas House and Senate passed nearly identical bills Thursday dealing with contract negotiations between school districts and teachers unions.
School board candidates discuss budget cuts, Common Core at forum
February 25, 2015
The four candidates competing for a two-year term on the Lawrence school board found little to argue about Wednesday night when they gathered to outline their positions on various issues.
Kansas House rejects bill limiting teacher negotiations; passes compromise alternative
04:46 p.m., February 25, 2015 Updated 10:17 p.m.
The Kansas House rejected a bill Wednesday that would have eliminated the exclusive right of teachers unions to negotiate contracts with school districts. Instead, it advanced a bill reflecting a compromise worked out between the state’s major education groups over what issues should be negotiated between teachers and school districts. By Peter Hancock
Local day care closes after allegations of improper punishment, force-feeding
04:34 p.m., February 25, 2015 Updated 10:18 p.m.
A Lawrence child care agency closed Friday after Kansas Department of Health and Environment officials alleged the owner had multiple violations, such as prohibited punishment, leaving young children unattended and force-feeding a small boy, going back to May 2014.
Free State High program will include female students after ACLU raises concerns
03:25 p.m., February 25, 2015 Updated 10:17 p.m.
A mentoring program at Lawrence’s Free State High School will now include female students after the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas raised concerns that the program was reserved for males and violated Title IX.