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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

Audit of Kansas rural phone subsidies raises questions
December 21, 2014
A recent audit of the Kansas Universal Service Fund found the program is operating efficiently. But auditors suggested legislators should consider updating the state’s policy on telecommunications to define the type of services it subsidizes for rural telephone companies. By Peter Hancock
Governor seeks study of big changes to KPERS
02:21 p.m., December 19, 2014 Updated 02:53 p.m.
Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget director told a legislative committee Friday that the proposed cuts in contributions to the state’s pension system are only temporary and will not be part of Brownback’s budget proposal for the next two fiscal years.
Regents ask for delay in performance-based funding
December 18, 2014
Republican leaders in the Kansas Legislature have urged the Board of Regents to come up with a proposal to tie higher education funding to specific performance benchmarks. But the Regents said Thursday they would only want to use that for additional funding on top of the universities’ base budgets, and, given the state’s current financial condition, they don’t think that’s likely to happen in the coming year. By Peter Hancock
University leaders say liberal arts programs are struggling for recognition, respect
December 18, 2014
Leaders of university liberal arts programs told the Kansas Board of Regents that traditional liberal arts programs produce value for the economy and society at large. But in an era when universities are under pressure to produce more doctors, engineers and business professionals, liberal arts programs have become a lower priority in funding and the hiring of faculty. By Peter Hancock
Smaller universities want multiyear coaching contracts
December 17, 2014
Pittsburg State University and other NCAA Division II schools in Kansas want the Kansas Board of Regents to let them sign multiyear contracts with their athletics coaches. But others don’t want to see the excesses of Division I athletics spread to the smaller universities. By Peter Hancock
KU Hospital undergoing major reorganization
December 17, 2014
Kansas University’s hospital and school of medicine are in the process of merging all of their clinical organizations in response to rapid changes in the health care marketplace. But officials told the Kansas Board of Regents Wednesday that those changes may not be enough for the health network to survive in coming years if Kansas doesn’t expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. By Peter Hancock
Jenkins hears about immigration, budget at Lawrence town hall meeting
December 16, 2014
Rep. Lynn Jenkins told a Lawrence audience Tuesday that immigration will be the No. 1 priority for Republicans when the next Congress convenes in January. She also fielded questions about the recently passed spending bill that included rolling back regulations on banking, the environment and school lunches. By Peter Hancock
Kansas updates fish consumption advisory
December 15, 2014
State health officials warn people to limit consumption of fish caught in certain lakes and rivers in Kansas, including the Kansas River between Lawrence and Eudora, because of contamination. The list is updated annually. This year, two bodies of water have been taken off the advisory list. By Peter Hancock
Kansas school efficiency panel reaches few agreements for new legislation
December 15, 2014
A task force set up by the Legislature to study ways schools can be more efficient agreed on only one bill to recommend to the Legislature next year. That would set up a process to define the new standards laid out by the Kansas Supreme Court to determine whether the state is adequately funding public schools. But the group was sharply divided on other proposals such as encouraging districts to consolidate administrative services, forcing them to spend down cash reserves, and limiting the scope of collective bargaining. By Peter Hancock
Torture report says little on Pat Roberts’ role
December 14, 2014
Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas chaired the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence during the time the CIA engaged in its program of “enhanced interrogation techniques.” But a report released by the committee this week criticizing that program says little about Roberts’ role as head of the oversight panel. By Peter Hancock

Full story list

Recent photos

Kansas University Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little talks to the Kansas Board of Regents Thursday about the importance of liberal arts programs.

Danny Anderson, right, dean of Kansas University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, tells the Kansas Board of Regents about the importance of liberal arts and general education programs. He said universities are often pressured to focus resources on professional degree programs that are seen as more directly tied to economic development.

Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew tells a legislative committee about the complexities of local elections. The committee is studying the pros and cons of moving city and school board elections to November to coincide with state and federal races.

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, stops in Topeka to stump for Sen. Pat Roberts. Roberts has been relying on national GOP figures to mobilize the conservative base and remind voters that race could decide which party controls the Senate next year.

Independent U.S. Senate candidate Greg Orman rallies campaign volunteers in Topeka on Saturday in the final push to get out the vote for Tuesday's election.

Full photo list