Peter Hancock (Statehouse/politics reporter)

I cover K-12 education. That includes Lawrence USD 497 as well as state policy issues from the legislature and State Board of Education. I am a graduate of the Kansas University with bachelor's degrees in political science and education. Before joining the Journal-World, I published an online news service called the Kansas Education Policy Report. I also spent nine years as the statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and worked a couple of years as the spokesman for the (former) Kansas Health Policy Authority. You can follow me on Twitter (@pqhancock) or join our conversation about public schools on the First Bell blog.

Recent stories

Fact-checking Brownback’s claims on the economy: Only part of story being told
April 25, 2015
Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration last week pointed to economic figures that it believes show the Kansas economy is improving. But a closer look at those figures, as well as other economic indicators, shows they only tell part of the story. By Peter Hancock
Budget woes threaten highway program, group warns
06:20 p.m., April 23, 2015 Updated 10:46 p.m.
As state revenues have fallen short of projections in recent years, Kansas lawmakers have taken hundreds of millions of dollars out of the State Highway Fund to pay for general government expenses, including education. A nonpartisan think tank issued a report Thursday warning that those raids on highway money now threaten some parts of the state’s 10-year transportation program known as T-Works. By Peter Hancock
Brownback does not offer comprehensive plan to fix budget but says he will work with Legislature
08:39 a.m., April 23, 2015 Updated 10:45 p.m.
Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration unveiled a package of modest budget adjustments on Thursday but did not offer a comprehensive plan for filling an estimated $400 million revenue shortfall in next year’s budget. By Peter Hancock
Kansas officials report fewer earthquakes, but can’t yet say why
06:05 p.m., April 22, 2015 Updated 10:45 p.m.
State officials say there has been a sharp decline this month in the number of earthquakes occurring in south-central Kansas. But they say it’s too early to tell whether that’s the result of new regulations restricting the disposal of saltwater from oil and gas wells in the area. By Peter Hancock
National reports show tuition rates rising as state funding for higher education declines
April 21, 2015
A pair of national reports released this month say tuition costs around the nation have risen as state and local support for higher education has declined. A similar trend has occurred in Kansas, according to figures from the Kansas Board of Regents. By Peter Hancock
Kansas revenue projections for next year contributing to even bigger budget hole
08:21 a.m., April 20, 2015 Updated 11:10 p.m.
State budget officials in Kansas issued a gloomy report Monday that says total revenues flowing into the state are expected to fall 3.5 percent next year, creating an even bigger budget hole for lawmakers to fill when they return next week to wrap up the 2015 session.
Rural residents may have little recourse for gun noise
April 12, 2015
Alan Miller, who lives near Vinland, says the once-peaceful area known for its large homes and rural setting now sounds like a “war zone” when his neighbor starts shooting his high-powered rifles and other guns. But there may be little that he or the county can do, because the state of Kansas has largely pre-empted local governments from enacting ordinances restricting gun use. By Peter Hancock
Lawrence school district expects to repay $672,000 in state aid
05:56 p.m., April 6, 2015 Updated 10:06 p.m.
The Lawrence school district has already received more state aid for its capital outlay and local option budgets than it’s entitled to receive under the new “block grant” school funding bill. Superintendent Rick Doll says that will result in a hiring freeze for classified employees this year and possibly fewer teachers in classrooms next year. By Peter Hancock
Kansas AG asks federal court to strike down labor rules for home health workers
03:23 p.m., April 6, 2015 Updated 10:04 p.m.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking a federal appeals court to strike down U.S. Department of Labor rules that say many home health workers are entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 40 hours per week. The Brownback administration says such a rule would threaten services for people who receive home and community based services through the state’s Medicaid program. By Peter Hancock
Pro-business lobby groups wielding big influence in Legislature, Democrats say
April 5, 2015
On issues like school finance, health care and reducing the power of labor unions, Democrats say pro-business lobby groups are wielding tremendous influence over the Kansas Legislature this year. Republicans say they’re winning the legislative battles because the voters who elected them prefer GOP policies. By Peter Hancock

Full story list

Recent photos

Kansas private-sector employment, Jan. 2013 - March 2015.

Kansas Budget Director Shawn Sullivan briefs the House Appropriations Committee on Gov. Sam Brownback's proposed budget amendments Thursday. Those changes do not address a projected $400 million revenue shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year.

House and senate budget negotiators reached a tentative deal Wednesday on a two-year state budget, but neither chamber acted on it before adjourning Thursday for the Legislature's annual spring break. Rep. Ron Ryckman, Jr., center left, and Sen. Ty Masterson, center right, say they're confident the bill can pass when lawmakers return in late April.

Gov. Sam Brownback signs into law a bill allowing people to carry concealed handguns without a permit, and without going through mandatory gun safety training.

Republican Sen. Julia Lynn of Olathe and Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City, debate a proposed amendment to a budget bill the Senate passed Wednesday. The bill now goes to the House where GOP leaders have had trouble finding a majority to support their budget bill.

Full photo list